The Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, which is now public domain, was re-invented this past year as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The mash-up, which took the story line and characters of the classic novel and added, well, zombies, was a surprising success after its release in April. The book, which climbed as high as third on the New York Times Best Seller list and earned overwhelmingly positive reviews is now heading the big screen. Variety is reporting that Natalie Portman has signed on to star in and produce a movie version. Some online sources are suggesting that Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly will helm the film, but the Variety article indicates he's on board as a producer, not the director.
The success of the book coupled with a resurgence of the zombie genre (Zombieland did big business and a 3D sequel is already in the works) meant a movie version was essentially inevitable. I like Portman for the lead, she seems to exude the class, elegance and grace one would expect from a 19th Century leading lady and she's certainly displayed the sense of humor required for a piece like this. That being said, I'm not convinced this concept will translate to the screen. A large part of the success of the novel is taking the style of a novel written in the early 1800's and fusing it with a decidedly modern - and pulpy - sensibility. It seems to me that much of that will be lost in the transition from page to screen.