By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 1, 2011 at 1:03AM
For a pitch so simple (Jane Austen + The Undead = bidding war!), the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" has had some problems actually getting made. Originally set to team Natalie Portman and "The Fighter" writer-director David O. Russell, both talent jumped ship, thanks to, respectively, pregnancy and a career resurgence, and backers Lionsgate have subsequently gone through half of Hollywood trying to get the film on screen: Mike White was briefly going to direct, and names from Scarlett Johannson, Bradley Cooper and Tilda Swinton to David Slade, Mike Newell and Christopher Smith were all mentioned as possibilities for some kind of involvement at various points.
But finally,the project landed a director, in the form of Craig Gillespie, helmer of both indie hit "Lars and the Real Girl" and the upcoming "Fright Night" remake, and it looks like he's going to be bringing along a colleague from the latter, as The Wrap reports that Marti Noxon, writer of the "Fright Night" script, has done a polish on "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."
Noxon's a TV veteran, best known for work as a writer and producer on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" although she's been involved in the likes of "Prison Break," "Brothers and Sisters" and "Mad Men." This year's seen her move into film in a big way, penning the script for DreamWorks' damp squib of a franchise starter, "I Am Number Four," and Gillespie's vampire remake. Clearly the director was happy with her work there if he brought Noxon on to 'P&P&Z.'
Noxon's working directly from Russell's draft, so hopefully enough of his vision will be retained: while both Gillespie and Noxon have good work to their name, their CVs are spotty in places ("Mr. Woodcock"? "Private Practice"?). Barring any more change in personnel, this would seem to be the last piece of the puzzle before the film can move towards casting, so we'd expect to hear who our zombie-slaying Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy will be any day now.