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 »

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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.

After the break, Sylvester Stallone’s new movie needs a new director, but Meg Ryan probably won’t get the job because she’ll be busy making something else as her first film. Read More »

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]

UPDATE: Todd from Twitch relates that he got the same email this rumor is based upon, and that it is even more sketchy than the original report made it appear. Downgrade this from ‘rumor’ to ‘hopeful fan manufacture.’

This is a report that is just at the level of rumor for the moment, and we haven’t been able to verify it one way or the other. But in the interest of total endorsement, I present to you the rumor that Christopher Smith, director of films such as Severance, Triangle and Black Death, is the man LionsGate wants to hire as director of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Read More »

Briefly: Seemed like a weird move when Mike White was hired to direct the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Well, the film is going back to square one after Mr. White, aka the second director on the project, has dropped out. He tells Deadline that scheduling was to blame, “I loved the project and looked forward to working with Lionsgate. Unfortunately, the timing could not be worked out. I wish them the best with the movie.”

Make of that what you will, but the situation is back to basics — a director is needed. Reportedly the film remains a big priority for LionsGate, which is going out to new talent now. I expect we’ll be able to report a new hire within weeks. Until this point the film was going to be based on the script written by David O. Russell, despite the fact that he left as director. We assume that will continue to be the case, but will clarify as new info comes in.

The man behind Chuck and Buck is set to dress well and suck…brains, that it is. Mike White, the writer of School of Rock, Nacho Libre and the aforementioned Chuck and Buck is now officially set to direct his sophomore feature film – an adaptation of the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith, which tells the classic Austin love story but fills in gaps with zombie comedy and horror. Think white ruffles and hair bonnets covered with blood and guts.

White, whose only feature film directorial experience before this was the Molly Shannon comedy Year of the Dog, was first on a short list to direct the film and then highlighted as a front runner because of his unique ability to fuse tones and genres. He’s currently working on the HBO show Enlightened with Laura Dern. David O. Russell was long set to direct the film before leaving the project. In his time, he brought Natalie Portman on as a star, who then left but stayed on as a producer. Read more after the jump. Read More »

I evidently need to read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies script (anyone got it?) because while the idea of inserting zombies in Jane Austen‘s classic story sounds amusing enough to power a bit of sketch comedy, I’m having difficulty coming to terms with it as something that people are jockeying to direct.

The latest contender for the director’s chair, recently abdicated David O. Russell, is School of Rock writer Mike White. Read More »

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