Director Craig Gillespie talks Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Craig Gillespie will direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , and he has spoken to Entertainment Weekly about taking on the Seth Grahame-Smith adaptation.

Gillespie, director of Lars and the Real Girl and the upcoming Fright Night Remake, has just been announced as the helmer of the Jane Austen-horror mashup.

The director’s chair had been vacant since David O. Russell (and then Mike White) left the production, although Gillespie will work from Russell’s script.

Gillespie told EW what appealed to him about the project: “David Russell wrote the script off the book, and it has such a great mix of humor and horror. I just love being able to juggle those two aspects.

“The humor is inherent in the Pride and Prejudice side, but taking that and accenting it with zombies is just a brilliant and fun idea. And there are such strong female characters, which is nice to have. It’s a great clash.”

Asked to describe the film’s tone, he said: “There’s a lot of action in this. There are a lot of big set pieces in this film, which is exciting.

“Basically, as I said to the studio, at the core it’s a love story between Elizabeth and Darcy. If that’s not working, and we’re not rooting for those two get together through all this craziness, the movie is not going to work.

“That’s key to me, to have this great emotional story going on, and all this craziness.”

Gillespie also expressed a great deal of reverence for Austen’s material: “I love the propriety of the Jane Austen novels, which you want to keep. The language, what’s appropriate and not appropriate. The customs, and the hierarchy.

“They had very witty dialogue with a lot of undertones to it. You need the juxtaposition. There’s going to be a strong gothic undertone, which ties the two genres together.

“It’s more in the world of [Tim Burton’s 1999] Sleepy Hollow , where it’s somewhat stylized. We have that creative license because of the zombies.”

Gillespie also mentioned that no-one had been cast as yet. Natalie Portman was once set to take the lead role, but she is now attached to the project in a producer capacity only.

With a director now firmly onboard, casting details shouldn’t be too far off.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is tentatively scheduled for a 2013 release.

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