As unbelievable as the notion of Darren Aronofsky directing Wolverine 2 might be, there’s something more difficult to swallow going on in Hollwood: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is becoming a hot property. Initially set to be directed by David O. Russell with Natalie Portman starring (she is still producing) the film now needs a new creative team. So, start the ‘shortlist’ compilation. Directors such as Neil Marshall and Mike Newell are reportedly in the mix, and Scarlett Johansson has been mentioned as a possible star.

Deadline says that, before he left, David O. Russell had lined up Scarlett Johansson to play Elizabeth Bennett and Bradley Cooper to play Mr. Darcy in Seth Grahame-Smith’s  zombie-addled take on Jane Austen‘s classic novel. Which, remember is about 85% original Austen; Grahame-Smith made use of the public domain aspect of the novel, and only played with part of it. Which begs the question: how serious will this movie be? David O. Russell wrote the current draft of the script; no word yet on whether someone else will do additional work (likely) or if it’ll be left more or less as-is.

Now with David O. Russell gone, LionsGate is looking for a director, and the three mentioned so far are Mike Newell, as the “early front runner,” along with Neil Marshall and David Slade. That order seems to be the priority list at the studio for the moment.

In addion to the Johansson / Cooper pairing, Bloody Disgusting says that an offer has been out to Mia Wasikowska, with ‘strong interest’ in Tilda Swinton to appear as well. No further info is available about when the offer went out, or how this has changed with the director of the film in flux. When someone is hired to helm the picture, expect to hear more about casting.

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