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Jane Austen is at the heart of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'

August 30, 2011 |  3:10 pm

Ppjz Craig Gillespie, director of "Lars and the Real Girl," is the man tasked with bringing "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" to the big screen. And he says that Jane Austen will remain at the story's heart. Or maybe she's its braaaiiiiiinss....

Gillespie helmed the just-released horror-plus-comedy movie "Fright Night." His Austen-plus-zombies adaptation, he told our sibling blog Hero Complex, has some similarities.

"It’s another tone issue, that's where the challenge is.... It's a little more serious than 'Fright Night.' It's staying incredibly true to Jane Austen and the humor that you get from Jane Austen and the dynamic of this society and the humor and insight that comes from the situations that she wrote about. And then you also get the  horror of of zombies."

The first of what became a string of literary mash-ups, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was written mostly by Jane Austen, with Seth Grahame-Smith adding bloodthirsty zombies, killing off one major character and providing the Bennett sisters with ninja training.

"The people in Austen's books are kind of like zombies," Grahame-Smith told The Times in 2009. "No matter what's going on around them in the world, they live in this bubble of privilege. The same thing is true of the people in this book, although it's much more absurd."

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," with its clever cover, became a surprise bestseller. Quirk Books, its publisher, has released more classic mash-ups, such as "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters."

Grahame-Smith has plunged into writing complete novels in a similar vein; he's the author of 2011's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which is also headed for the big screen.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

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