Pride and Prejudice Finally Gets the Time Travel, Zombie Apocalypse and Sci-Fi Movie Adaptations It So Richly Deserves

I'll start with the highbrow: the critically acclaimed British television series Lost in Austen is getting the Hollywood treatment, with none other than Sam Mendes producing.  Lost in Austen has a loose, sci-fi premise: Elizabeth Bennet and a modern day Jane Austen fan swap places via some sort of time-traveling doorway.  I haven't seen the whole series (it's in my Netflix queue!) but the many ways it plays with the novel sound delightful.  Keep an eye out for the film adaptation, though, because it has both big studio backing and indie cred, via Sam Mendes.

Moving on to the lowbrow...

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesZombies!  Word has it that Seth Grahame-Smith's upcoming novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has generated enough buzz that Hollywood studios are already quibbling over rights to the book - which won't even be released until April.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is, apparently, exactly what the title states.  Grahame-Smith has taken the original novel, which has been long out of copyright, and added the zombie apocalypse.  Apparently, much of the source text remains intact, although presumably all of the gore and violence will be new.  I'm actually excited about this!  Zombie films have always been the  resident, self-aware cultural commentary arm of the horror genre and I see a lot of possibilities in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Perhaps it will be a romantic comedy of manners similar to Shaun of the Dead?  Or perhaps I'm just a little too excited about the possibility of Elizabeth Bennet being a zombie slayer...

Finally, the latest (and strangest) news: Elton John's Rocket Pictures is developing the film Pride and Predator, about an alien that crash lands in the world of Austen's Pride and Prejudice and starts killing everyone.  I predict that this may set a new standard for bodice ripping.

Will Keira Knightley star in any of these films?  Probably not.  Will they be any good?  Who knows?  I'm an Austen fan and a sci-fi/horror fangirl, so I think there's a lot of potential for radness here.  However, there's also a big possibility that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Pride and Predator could go over-the-top (or perhaps not over-the-top enough) and end up trading on mean-spirited, mysoginistic cliches about Austen and costume dramas.  But I'm hopeful instead that this is part of a bigger trend to do interesting, genre-bending work that interests both men and women. 

And all of you Austen fans who might be cringing right now, take heart.  Austen has survived countless stultifying BBC miniseries adaptations and many, many mediocre films.  She can take a few zombies.

Lost in Austen to be Hollywood Film [Guardian UK]

Hollywood Studios Bidding for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies [/Film

Rocket Launches 'Predator' [Variety]


by Tammy Oler
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Tammy Oler has been contributing to Bitch for over a decade. Her writing about pop culture and fandom has appeared in Slate, Ozy, Vulture, and Geek, among others.

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6 Comments Have Been Posted


This had me giggling. I thought the Zombies one was a joke! I'll admit that I'm actually more of a Zombie fan than an Austen fan (shock! horror!)—so I'll be interested to see how that's handled.

Finally, a Jane Austen novel

Finally, a Jane Austen novel my husband will read!

maybe I should reread it

What? You mean Mr. Darcy wasn't a zombie?

Is it really bad if Ive

Is it really bad if Ive never read the originals, but Im running out to buy the zombie one???

What about Zombie?

Several decades later, Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, presented a pharmacological case for zombies in two books, The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985) and Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie (1988). Davis traveled to Haiti in 1982 and, as a result of his investigations, claimed that a living person can be turned into a zombie by two special powders being entered into the blood stream (usually via a wound). The first, coup de poudre (French: 'powder strike'), includes tetrodotoxin (TTX), the poison found in the pufferfish. The second powder is composed of dissociatives such as datura. Together, these powders were said to induce a death-like state in which the victim's will would be entirely subject to that of the bokor. Davis also popularized the story of Clairvius Narcisse, who was claimed to have succumbed to this practice.

Modern zombies

Modern zombies, as portrayed in books, films, games, and haunted attractions, are different from both voodoo zombies and those of folklore. Modern zombies are typically depicted in popular culture as mindless, unfeeling monsters with a hunger for human brains and flesh, a prototype established in the seminal 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Typically, these creatures can sustain damage far beyond that of a normal, living human. Generally these can only be killed by a wound to the head, such as a headshot, and can pass whatever syndrome that causes their condition onto others.

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