Fandoms are colliding for Whovians and Austenites. Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame has landed a role in the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was published in 2009, and now a film adaptation is finally on the horizon. The book combines Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice with elements of modern zombie fiction, creating a hilarious mashup of romance, 19th century social etiquette, and gruesome slaughter. In Grahame-Smith’s version of events, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are no helpless damsels but hardened warriors, trained by the best, and dedicated to saving England from the zombie plague – while finding suitable husbands, of course. Whether you hate Jane Austen or love Jane Austen, you won’t fail to be entertained by this unlikely retake on a classic novel.
The film adaptation will be appearing at a lucrative time, as it will no doubt be a welcome addition to the zombie craze that is currently sweeping the entertainment industry. With The Walking Dead still going strong and the release of Warm Bodies last year and, more recently, World War Z, people just can’t seem to get enough of the brain-eating monsters. A movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has been in talks since 2009, with several directors signing on only to abandon the project. Burr Steers (17 Again) is now set to direct, and also co-wrote the screenplay with David O. Russell. Natalie Portman was originally cast as Elizabeth Bennet, but took a backseat as a producer of the film to be replaced by Lily James (Downton Abbey). Other actors include Sam Riley (Maleficent), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), and Douglas Booth (Noah).
And now, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we know that Matt Smith will be joining the cast as well! Fans of Doctor Who will recognize Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, who won our hearts with his quirky antics and his very cool bowtie over the last four seasons of the show. Recently replaced by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, Smith is now turning his attention to other projects including Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, Terminator: Genisys, and, of course, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Unfortunately, Smith will not be taking the role of Mr. Darcy in the film, but instead will be appearing as the bumbling, wife-seeking Mr. Collins. This role might actually be better suited for Smith, as it will give him a chance to act charmingly absurd. We already know that humor comes easily to the former Doctor, so the horror-comedy parody film should be a perfect fit.
The film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will finally begin shooting on September 24th. While it’s still too early to know many details about the movie, the addition of Matt Smith to the project has definitely put it on the radar and brought it to the attention of a larger audience. We’ll have to wait and see what new details we hear in the coming months.