EXCLUSIVE: Mike White has just dropped out of directing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that injects flesh-eating corpses to Jane Austen’s 1813 literary classic. I’m hearing that White had a preexisting commitment at HBO and they couldn’t make schedules mesh. Lionsgate chose White after David O. Russell exited but left behind a strong script. I just got a confirmation of the exit, and a statement from White: “I loved the project and looked forward to working with Lionsgate. Unfortunately, the timing could not be worked out. I wish them the best with the movie.” The thriller is a big piece of business for Lionsgate, along with The Hunger Games. They are going right back out to filmmakers to get the project back on track.
Lionsgate has closed a deal with Mike White to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that spices up Jane Austen’s time-tested 1813 literary classic with a smattering of flesh-eating walking corpses. David O. Russell stepped out but left behind a script that had filmmakers salivating for the job. White got the formal offer on November 5. Lionsgate can now get busy on casting Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and the other characters in the Austen tale. Russell originally had Natalie Portman interested in playing the female lead, but she left the project some time ago as actress, though she is producing through her handsomecharlie banner with Annette Savich, and Darko Entertainment. When she left, Russell wanted Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper. Unclear if they’ll stay, particularly as Johansson was in contention for several other high profile films that were casting up before landing the female lead opposite Matt Damon in the Cameron Crowe-directed We Bought A Zoo.
White, who scripted School of Rock, made his feature directing debut on Year of the Dog. He is repped by UTA.
Lionsgate has made a formal offer to Mike White to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel that spices up Jane Austen’s time-tested Jane Austen with a smattering of flesh-eating walking corpses. White, who scripted School of Rock, made his feature directing debut on Year of the Dog. Several directors eyed the project since David O Russell exited the project but left behind a strong script and the idea of having Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper play the leads.