Have you seen the Bennet sisters lately?
It might be time to get reacquainted with Jane Austen’s most famous family. Elizabeth (Lily James), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady), Jane (Bella Heathcote), and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) aren’t just eligible singles anymore; they’re sword- and knife-wielding martial artists.
With a zombie apocalypse that’s been raging for more than 70 years, they kind of have to be. Writer-director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) took on the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s enormously popular book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies after years of development hell—David O. Russell had penned a draft and was attached to direct at one point—and rewrote the script with an eye toward realism. “The first thing I did was reinsert all the Pride and Prejudice beats,” says Steers, who also beefed up the roles of Darcy (Sam Riley) and Wickham (Jack Huston).
But it’s the spark-plug sisters who steal the show with their corset-bound roundhouse kicks. When it comes to her character, James doesn’t think that’s too much of a stretch. “Even in the original story, Elizabeth’s a fighter and beyond her contemporaries in her ambitions and her ideas of women,” she says. “She’s a badass warrior. She’s a ninja.” Filming began in late September; the action-adventure literary adaptation should hit the big screen next year.