Aussie actress to star in Jane Austen zombie mash-up
Bella Heathcote, Downton Abbey’s Lily James and Maleficent’s Sam Riley head the cast of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the big-screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel.
James will play Elizabeth Bennett with Riley as Mr Darcy and Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister in the movie which sees Jane Austen’s 19th century lovers confronted by an army of the “sorry stricken,” aka zombies.
Shooting is due to start in the US next month, directed by Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down, Charlie St Cloud). Steers co-wrote the screenplay with David O. Russell.
Cross Creek Pictures has acquired US rights and Sierra/Affinity is handling foreign sales. At various times Russell, Mike White and Craig Gillespie were attached to direct, and Emma Stone, Lily Collins, Natalie Portman and Blake Lively were in talks to play the lead.
Heathcote cut her teeth on Neighbours and was among the ensemble cast of Beneath Hill 60. She made her US debut in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.
She stars in two upcoming US films: The Rewrite, Marc Lawrence’s romantic comedy which stars Hugh Grant as an Oscar-winning writer in a slump who leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mother student (Marisa Tomei); and The Curse of Downer's Grove, a thriller scripted by Bret Easton Ellis set at a high school gripped by a curse that claims the life of a senior every year.