Belfast Telegraph

Women 'ninjas' take centre stage in Jane Austen and zombies mash-up film

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies took to the blood red carpet at London's Leicester Square for its European premiere.

Actress Lily James, 26, plays heroine Elizabeth Bennet in the mash-up movie of corpses and corsets in the horror/romance spoof of the Jane Austen classic novel Pride And Prejudice. Boyfriend and former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, 33, is also among the cast.

The film is based on the 2009 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith and transforms Austen's most famous heroine Bennet into a master of martial arts and weaponry.

James, who appeared in BBC's War And Peace and ITV's Downton Abbey as Lady Rose, said: "I got to fight. I got to save the men. I got to be part of the Bennet sisters who are the coolest group of girls and I got to be an action hero.

"We had such camaraderie on Downton as well because we were this family and we worked together for so long. This was really cool because we were all playing sisters and we were really tight. We also had to train. There was blood, sweat and tears and we fought together and that really bonded us in a strong way, I think."

The "intensive" training for this film included pushing cars around car parks.

The spoof sees as a plague falls upon 19th century England and Elizabeth unites with Mr Darcy to rid the country of the terrifying zombie menace.

Smith said he would have quite liked to have "got in to a bit of zombie action" but did not think it would fit in with character of the pompous cleric Mr Collins.

Smith also said he liked the fact that women were taking charge in this film.

He said: "Isn't that quite nice though that it is the women who are the kick-arse ninjas? I think that is quite cool, a refreshing spin and quite sexy."

Asked if it is was quite attractive to be going out with someone who can do all that he said "yeah."

He also thinks that Jane Austen would approve of this new take on her writing.

He said: "I think she would have really liked it because her work is being retold. Isn't it a testament to her and her work that it can survive a zombie apocalypse and that people are returning to it and trying to retell it and that her Bennet sisters are still a bunch of kick-arse ninjas?"

Charles Dance, 69, whose earliest global success was in playing the leading part of Guy Perron in the television miniseries The Jewel In The Crown in 1984 - before many of his co-stars was born, said it was fun working with a young cast who were "a bunch of extremely talented and mostly very beautiful people."

Dance, who plays the patriarch Mr Bennet, had high praise for Smith's comic turn as the pompous cleric Mr Collins in the film.

Smith had people laughing both on and off camera and "steals this film", according to Dance.

He said: "I am not surprised because the few scenes I had with him it was very difficult to keep a straight face. He is very very funny. He is a very talented man.

"I do not think that Jane Austen or her most ardent admirers would be offended by this (film). It is done with great affection."


From Belfast Telegraph