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Thursday, February 10

The Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Film Conspiracy Theory

Deluxe Edition
I was expecting another announcement about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the film.These publicity releases have become as predictable as snow in winter and rain in spring. Sure enough, another P&P&Z film report popped up on my Google reader this morning.

Way back in the dark ages of the P&P&Z film publicity rumor mill (2009), a bidding war was announced for a film based on the book. Then Natalie Portman signed on to play Elizabeth and co-produce the film. She dropped out as star but would stay on to co-produce. In October 2010, it was announced that P&P&Z was totally dead in the water. Miraculously, Scarlet Johannsen's name (along with Bradley Cooper's) popped up, reviving the film's future. Scarlett must have balked, for in December Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy turned up as the possible new actors. (Or did they?)

David Russell, director, and Natalie Portman - First Iteration
The director revolving door was equally active. David Russell signed on first. Then he quit, and Mike White (Year of the Dog), took up the cudgel before dropping it a few weeks ago. Now Craig Gillespie is set to direct. Big Whoop. Who's up next? Curious minds want to know.
Mike White as the director contender
Recently one report stated: “Filming is to start some time in 2011.” Yeah, and the moon is made of blue cheese. Does anyone SMELL a conspiracy here? What if …. P&P&Zombies never gets made. What if … all these announcements are part of a publicity shell game meant to keep the name of P&P&Z out in public view? Think about it. The announcements for Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy included such qualifiers as “possible”, “rumored”, “battling for”, “may tackle”, “under consideration”. Hah! We I wasn't born yesterday, P&P&Z movie publicity machine. Cynic is my middle name.
Anne Hathaway, JamesMcavoy, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I mean, think about it, Quirk Books has been nothing short of BRILLIANT in publicizing its Jane Austen mash ups, and P&P&Z, its first mashup, skyrocketed to success, due in part to their strategic marketing. P&P&Z first came out with much fanfare and pre-publicity as a trade paperback; then as a deluxe edition with color illustrations; then as a graphic novel; then with a prequel and now a sequel. You get the drift.

In 2009 the book everywhere: book stores, novelty stores, toy stores, museum shops (I kid you not) – any place where books were proudly sold. (Although I never saw it in the self-help book section at Lowe's.) Bloggers were sent free copies of each new edition, along with posters and bookmarks, and the like. It seemed for a while that the entire universe was dripping with P&P&Z paraphernalia. Comments like this one - “I am like 100 pages into this book and it is epic” - tempted young males who ordinarily would not have touched a Jane Austen novel with a live taser to purchase P&P&Z in droves.
Jane Austen Mashups at the 2009/10 Jane Austen exhibit, A Woman's Wit, Morgan Library, NYC
It seemed that everywhere you turned, the P&P&Z cover with a zombified portrait of Marcia Fox stared you in the face. With lightning speed, other classic authors were receiving similar mashup treatment, and a new era in low brow literature was born.

New books are publicized for only a short time and then they are replaced on the shelf and never heard from again, or they become a best-seller and get restocked until they lose their cache, or they become a classic (and are rarely heard from again except for assignments from high school teachers). But P&P&Z is managing to reinvent a life of its own, spinning off spin-offs and spinning spin. And so my conspiracy theory is this: What if there never was a movie planned? What if this is all this movie hype is just a ploy to keep the buzz around P&P&Z going and keep fans salivating for more? Here's one choice comment from a would-be viewer about the so-called upcoming film:
“[Jane Austen is] the kind of writer that takes a chapter to say what most would say in a paragraph. My god I hate that bitch! LOL. So the idea of watching her characters get brutally munched on by zombies really does it for me!”
Witness the caliber of critical thinking skills in that astounding sentence. Jane is surely rolling in her grave.

I can only predict with any certainty that more announcements about this movie will be made. Whether P&P&Z will ever be filmed - now that is the question.

Gillespie is set to direct...?
The Movie Announcement Timeline
Gentle Readers: Every once in a while I shall stand in the Hyde Park speaker's corner and rant. Thank you for tolerating my indulgence. Images from the articles.


Anonymous said...

You made me laugh about P&P&Z showing up everywhere--last week it appeared on the shelves at our elementary school (K-5 school) book fair!

Nancy Matthews said...

Hahaha! Funny post. I've noticed the updates too and have wondered.

Nonna Beach said...

A very delicious take on a real mess...the book and possible movie. I loved every opinion and point you made ( I secretly hope it never gets made and ends up on the Ash Heap of History ! )

Meredith R. said...

Ash heap? I hope zombies much upon the brains of the producers who think this film will be a hit. Now that would be Oscar worthy!