DEBUNKED: Craig Gillespie Is The Third Director To Bail On Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
UPDATE: We've heard from Lionsgate's reps ourselves and know that the below story is bunk. There's a reason it seemed strange that Gillespie would leave Pride and Prejudice and Zombies after talking it up so recently-- he hasn't left it at all. Sorry for the false information, everybody.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the literature and genre mashup from author Seth Grahame-Smith, has seemed like a slam dunk for a movie adaptation ever since Natalie Portman's Handsomecharlie Films picked up the rights in early 2009. But ever since then the adaptation has run into nothing but trouble, from Portman deciding to only produce rather than star to both David O. Russell and Mike White signing on to direct before bailing. Even when Fright Night director Craig Gillespie signed on to the job they had trouble finding a lead actress, with Emma Stone only among the stars who turned down the lead role as a zombie-slaying Elizabeth Bennett. And all this while another one of Grahame-Smith's books, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, cruised into production as a Fox blockbuster directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
Now Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has hit yet another speedbump, and you might start hoping this is the last one before they simply give up. Twitch reports that Gillespie, too, has walked away from the project, just four months before the movie's planned January start date. When I talked to Gillespie at Comic Con about Fright Night, he mentioned his preparations to direct an action film like Zombies and even that he was getting ready to shoot martial arts. It didn't sound at all like the time that he could be anything but enthusiastic about Zombies, but either Fright Night's lackluster box office or something else has clearly changed his mind in the meantime.
Before Gillespie snagged the job in the spring, the book's author Seth Grahame-Smith was considered as a possible director, even though he has no filmmaking experience (he'd co-direct with his producing partner David Katzenberg). Now that Gillespie is the third director to leave the project, that may wind up being the only option. Or maybe someone involved will finally decide to cut their losses and move on to something else? That's probably too much to ask.
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