Blake Lively has just joined the A-list ranks of Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, and Natalie Portman as the latest actress to turn down the opportunity to star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Craig Gillespie‘s beleaguered adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s Jane Austen spoof. Lively’s rejection comes as yet another setback for the project, which has already suffered numerous stops and starts throughout the development process. Are we ever going to see this film get off the ground? More details after the jump.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has had just about every hot young starlet attached at some point or other, and Blake Lively is one of those actresses whose name seems to pop up any time anyone in Hollywood is casting for a female lead. It was bound to happen sooner or later that their paths would cross. And indeed, a new rumor has started making the rounds that Lively has been offered the lead role of Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which which will be directed by Craig Gillespie. More details after the jump.

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Update: To eliminate any possibility of confusion, be aware this reported director change has been thoroughly denied by Lionsgate. Craig Gillespie, the studio says, remains very much a part of P&P&Z. Original article follows for posterity. (via STYD and contact from Lionsgate reps.)

Oh, no, not this again. Lionsgate has had a terrifically difficult time getting a film version of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies off the ground. The film has gone through multiple directors and screenwriters, with David O. Russell penning a script and once planning to direct. He left; Mike White was hired to direct in his stead, then dropped out. Eventually Craig Gillespie (Lars & the Real Girl, Fright Night) was hired to direct, with Fright Night writer Marti Noxon coming on to rewrite the script.

Now Gillespie has reportedly bailed, too, leaving the project at square one yet again.

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We probably could have guess that this would happen: not long after taking the gig directing Price and Prejudice and Zombies for LionsGate, Craig Gillespie has brought Marti Noxon on to rewrite the David O. Russell script. In addition to having a resume that includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marti Noxon wrote the Fright Night remake that Mr. Gillespie directed last year. Footage of that one is getting out in the wild now, and the response is pretty good. So now they’ll work together once more.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on Seth Grahame-Smith‘s revision of Jane Austen‘s classic novel, has made news for its shifting directorial roster over the past year. But it still has no cast, and until this new script draft is done, it is possible that there will be no one signed. Don’t expect to see Natalie Portman, who was once attached. But we’ll give you the names when deals come together. [The Wrap]

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After weeks of back and forth, Craig Gillespie was finally announced yesterday as the new — and hopefully final — director of the Lionsgate film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The movie has had a long and public development path, with Natalie Portman producing and originally starring in the film based on Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel and David O. Russell writing the script and directing. Mr. Russell left a while back, Natalie Portman bowed out of the cast, and Mike White was hired to direct, then also left.

So Craig Gillespie is firmly in the director’s chair, but we’ve wondered about the fate of the David O. Russell script, which was once said to be the thing that gave the project a lot of momentum. The film’s new director says that script is still in play, and the film will shoot at the end of the summer. Read More »

When a film needs to blend period costume drama, romance, zombie horror and humor, a director who can delicately balance those tones is crucial. That must be why Lionsgate was so ultra careful when selecting someone to adapt Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which takes the classic Jane Austen tale and infuses it with zombies. Mike White (Chuck and Buck, School of Rock) has previously been locked and loaded to direct the film, but dropped out several months ago. Since then, speculation has run rampant over who would jump into the director’s chair.

Though several names names were floated, including the book’s original author, Craig Gillespie, who directed Lars and the Real Girl and the upcoming Fright Night remake, has just officially signed on. Read more after the break. Read More »

Somehow, 2010-2011 is going to go down as a time period when finding a director for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies turned into a massive undertaking. David O. Russell was going to make the film, but he walked. Many others were considered, then Mike White was hired, then he left, too. Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, the upcoming Fright Night remake) has been said to be the top choice to be director #3, then for a minute it looked like PP&Z author Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg might co-direct. But now Deadline says Craig Gillespie is getting the job after all.

The basic project (zombies are inserted into the text of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) doesn’t sound appealing at all, but I guess I can see why the idea of making a period drama with that weird horror overtone might be of interest to a director. It’s like a weird experiment; how do you take one thing and make it into something quite different, while only changing a few items? At this point, the whole arc of the project sounds like a weird experiment, though. Now we’ll have to watch how the casting process goes. I can only imagine that will take another few years.

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Briefly: The story of the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes one more twist. David O. Russell was once directing, and his script is still reportedly the basis for the film. After he left as director, Mike White came on and then left as well.

Now it seems like Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, the upcoming Fright Night remake) is the frontrunner to direct. Lionsgate hasn’t had anything official to say yet, and sources reporting the deal say it isn’t done. He’d make a good choice, however. I’ve only seen snippets of the Fright Night remake while briefly visiting the set of that film, while Lars and the Real Girl suggests he could handle the more serious dramatic aspects of this story, which preserves a lot of Jane Austen’s original novel. Let’s see if this one sticks and the film finally shambles to life. [Vulture]

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