Jane Austen Goes Geek

If you’re the type of person who always thought the works of Jane Austen needed a little extra oomph, then have we got some news! Elton John’s Rocket Pictures has set up Pride and Predator, an adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice … but one where an alien monster runs around killing everyone within five feet of a corset. Lest you think this is all some clever ruse by the cheeky Mr. John, take a gander at this actual quote from producer David Furnish (who is also in the midst of producing the animated feature Gnomeo and Juliet, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet but with gnomes): "It felt like a fresh and funny way to blow apart the done-to-death Jane Austen genre by literally dropping this alien into the middle of a costume drama, where he stalks and slashes to horrific effect." Well! Alrighty then!

The sad part about all of this—you know, besides desecrating a classic work of literature by turning it into a creature feature—is that Mr. Furnish isn’t actually creating something original, or "fresh and funny" as he described it. Just last week, it was announced that Hollywood studios were in a feeding frenzy over the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith due in April that takes Pride and Prejudice and—yes, you guessed it—imbues it with the undead. Mr. Grahame-Smith promises that 85 percent of the source novel will remain intact and, more importantly, he seems to have a great working knowledge of the story—meaning he’s actually read Ms. Austen’s book. Says Mr. Grahame-Smith: "Why else in the original should a regiment arrive on Lizzie Bennet’s doorstep when they should have been off fighting Napoleon? It was to protect the family from an invasion of brain-eaters, obviously."

Since we ourselves aren’t charter members of the Jane Austen Book Club, we’re not too offended by these ideas, per se. But we are at a loss for why both of them came out within a week of each other—does every moderately original idea to come from Hollywood have to be paired with a kissing cousin of sorts? However, that quibble aside, we’re at least interested enough in these projects to offer up some admittedly obvious casting suggestions: Get Nick Frost and Simon Pegg for the zombie version (Shaun of the Dead prequel time!) and, having seen Wanted, we’re more than certain that James McAvoy could kick a little alien butt as Mr. Darcy. And as for the ladies, you don’t have to be Ellen Lewis to realize that no one rocks the words of Ms. Austen like Keira Knightly and Anne Hathaway. Jane Austen Goes Geek