The pedigree for the Jane Austen mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just keeps dropping.
According to Variety, “Lionsgate’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies looks as if it is far off from getting started anytime soon. Expected to shoot sometime in the fourth quarter of 2011, the pic’s production start date has now been moved to early 2012. The pushback comes as the pic has found difficulty casting its femme lead, which has already seen several actresses pass on the role.”
This is just the latest in a string of setbacks for the film. Director David O. Russell and his star Natalie Portman were the first to drop out before Mike White briefly flirted with taking the reigns. Now with Fright Night‘s Craig Gillespie firmly attached to the helm it seems as though the project just can’t attract the right female lead. Emma Stone passed on the role back in June and you can bet your bottom dollar that offers have gone out to at least five of the actresses below her on ‘THE LIST’.
The film will probably still happen, but it’s cooling considerably. Gillespie doesn’t have the weight of O. Russell (whose script is apparently being used*) or the credibility of White, which could be a factor. But a bigger problem could be that people are starting to see through this project and its concept, which may be better suited to an SNL skit than the big screen. It’s a one note joke that, at 90 or more minutes, could become seriously painful.
There’s a dearth of ass-kicking roles for women in this town. So if you’ve got a movie about an ass-kicking woman and everyone’s passing on it, there might be some issues with your material.
*In development situations that drag on as long as this one, when a studio says they’re using the original writer’s script, what they really mean is they’re letting him take the blame for all the flailing uncredited rewrites.