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Gillespie Talks Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: "Strong Female Characters, Action, Witty, Gothic"

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 20, 2011 at 7:21AM

Craig Gillespie, who will direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, talks to EW about the upcoming project. He says he'll do his homework and consider EW's suggestion of zombie cameos from Keira Knightley (pictured in Joe Wright's 2005 Pride and Prejudice) or Colin Firth.
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Thompson on Hollywood


Craig Gillespie, who will direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, talks to EW about the upcoming project. He says he'll do his homework and consider EW's suggestion of zombie cameos from Keira Knightley (pictured in Joe Wright's 2005 Pride and Prejudice) or Colin Firth.

Of the script, Gillespie confirms:

"David [O.] 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."

As for how the genres will be balanced, action and romance are key:

"There’s a lot of action in this..[but] 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…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 juxtoposition. 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 [pictured], where it’s somewhat stylized. We have that creative license because of the zombies. I’ll certainly do my homework and explore genres to see what might work, but it’s going to have that strong gothic sense, I think."

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Interviews , Media, Remake, Horror , Books, Classics, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.