Claremont Insider: Art Imitating Art

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art Imitating Art

A recent NPR story about an updated Jane Austen classic surely had the ladies of the Jane Austen Book Club up in arms. Is nothing sacred?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith, has Austen's Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy facing off against legions of the undead. George A. Romero, welcome to Hertfordshire:

As Mr. Darcy walked off, Elizabeth felt her blood turn cold. She had never in her life been so insulted. The warrior code demanded she avenge her honour. Elizabeth reached down to her ankle, taking care not to draw attention. There, her hand met the dagger concealed beneath her dress. She meant to follow this proud Mr. Darcy outside and open his throat.

But no sooner had she grabbed the handle of her weapon than a chorus of screams filled the assembly hall, immediately joined by the shattering of window panes. Unmentionables poured in, their movements clumsy yet swift; their burial clothing in a range of untidiness. Some wore gowns so tattered as to render them scandalous; other wore suits so filthy that one would assume they were assembled from little more than dirt and dried blood. Their flesh was in varying degrees of putrefaction; the freshly stricken were slightly green and pliant, whereas the longer dead were grey and brittle – their eyes and tongues long since turned to dust, and their lips pulled back into everlasting skeletal smiles.

Personally, we'd like to see Mrs. Bennet match up against the living dead. We think Elizabeth's excitable mother would take your average zombie in three rounds, her palpitations notwithstanding. We've seen first-hand what mischief a whole community of fully mobilized Mrs. Bennets can achieve.

Now, taking on a human-hunting alien, that's quite another matter. In February, the Guardian carried the news that there's a movie project called "Pride and Predator" in the works:
It might prove something of a boon to those who reach for the remote control when yet another costume drama comes on television: Elton John's Rocket Pictures is developing a new spin on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this time featuring a nefarious seven-foot extraterrestrial with hideous mandibles and a penchant for human blood. Yes, it's Pride and Predator.

Will Clark, best known for his award-winning gothic comedy short The Amazing Trousers, will direct the film, which is being produced by Rocket partners Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish.

There's definitely something aloft in the ether. A sign of Apocalypse, perhaps?