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'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' finally grunts toward theaters Feb. 19

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Jay Maidment

Lizzie Bennet is about to fight more than her feelings for Mr. Darcy in the latest interpretation of the Regency era classic. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will battle its way to the big screen Feb. 19, Cross Creek Pictures confirmed Tuesday.

In this reimagining of Jane Austen’s most beloved novel, a mysterious outbreak plagues Meryton—and Lizzie and her sisters trade ribbons for swords to take on hoards of the undead. The arrival of Mr. Darcy, her arrogant distraction, complicates things. Lily James will star as Elizabeth Bennet, Sam Riley will play Mr. Darcy, and Matt Smith has signed on to portray Mr. Collins.

While some are raising an eyebrow about the movie’s concept, James says her character won’t be very different from the original. “Even in the original story, Elizabeth’s a fighter and beyond her contemporaries in her ambitions and her ideas of women. She’s a badass warrior. She’s a ninja,” she told EW.  

Charlie St. Cloud’s Burr Steers has signed on to lead the project, and David O. Russell co-wrote the script. Natalie Portman will produce, alongside Brian Oliver, Allison Shearmur, Sean McKittrick, Annette Savitch, Tyler Thompson, and Marc Butan. Previously, the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s head-turning parody spent years in developmental purgatory and saw a revolving door of directors—much to the delight of Austen purists.