It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a famous novel in possession of a good reputation must be in want of a zombie. Yes, the London premiere of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies finally arrived, and the cast is stellar. Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, delights in the role of the ponderous Mr. Collins, who will perhaps battle the undead in addition to writing dull sermons. Lily James plays Elizabeth Bennet, and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones) is the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Charles Dance, who many will recognize as Aredian from Merlin, plays the bemused patriarch, Mr. Bennet. Sam Riley is Mr. Darcy.
In an interview at the London premiere, Smith said, “I had a laugh. It was with lots of my friends. He’s (Mr. Collins) is a very interesting character. I think the world of the movie. It was really interesting. Happy days. “
The novel, by Seth Grahame-Smith, was a surprise hit. Many of the actors said they were initially skeptical of the idea, but were convinced once they read the screenplay that the mash-up would work well on screen. Smith said, “You go Pride and Prejudice and think, What? Then I read it, and saw that it was a really good adaptation, and the cast were all really strong. It was a right old laugh.”
Writer/Director Burr Steers (please rent his marvelous movie Igby Goes Down) made an excellent point about the film: “It was the idea, the concept of sticking these agents of chaos into the most repressed society you possibly could. That was appealing to me.”
In an interesting twist, the character of Elizabeth Bennet, who scorned Mr. Collins in the novel, has formed a different opinion in real life. Mr. Collins moved directly from disagreeable to amiable – Lily James and Matt Smith met on set and are now officially a couple.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was produced by Lionsgate Film and will appear in cinemas on February 11, 2016.