Is 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' the Feminist Zombie Movie We've Been Dreaming Of?

by John Boone 4:33 PM PDT, July 11, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Saturday morning at Comic-Con may have started in a super way -- with the first assemblance of the Suicide Squad cast in Hall H -- but the afternoon was all about zombies.

The Screen Gems panel featured first Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and later, Patient Zero (though, those are technically called "the infected"). Conveniently both star Matt Smith (Dr. Who), but it’s the former that caught our eye. Mostly, because the ladies in it seem seriously badass.

In exclusive footage screened for the very first time, we see that the movie still focuses on the Bennett girls getting married off, and they’re all still wearing corsets, but this time, Mr. Bennett points out, "My daughters are trained for the battlefield. Not the kitchen."

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Lily James, of Downton Abbey and Cinderella fame, plays Elizabeth Bennet and says she’s "fiercer" than the character in Jane Austen’s novel. "Liz Bennet is already an independent, free thinking young woman," James explained. "But it’s even more enhanced in this. She’s really strong and really badass."

While shooting the movie, James, who did extensive martial arts and fight training, may have gotten a little too badass. "I did stamp on an extra's head," she recalled. "I thought it was a dummy and it was a real, live person. And I stamped really hard. It was a rehearsal too. We weren’t actually shooting. He was fine, though!"

"He stayed in character!" one of her co-stars chimed in.

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Because it is Pride and Prejudice, there’s some romance too. It’s just...not quite how you remember it. James explains. "All of that sexual tension with Mr. Darcy, she takes it out on the zombies. And she’s really good at it."

As for Mr. Darcy -- now, Colonel Darcy -- Sam Riley was asked how much of a jerk he is in the movie. "He’s just misunderstood, isn’t he?" Riley joked. "But he’s a snob. And he’s very proud. I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m hoping I’m not too much of a jerk."

So what would Jane Austen herself think of undead being thrown into the mix? Author Seth Grahame-Smith said, "I thought [the Janites] were going to burn me in effigy...But Austen was really, really funny. She’s an extraordinarily funny author. So, while we’ll never know, I think she’d take it all in stride. Or she’d kill me."

Now, watch Josh Hutcherson sneak into Comic-Con to scare Jennifer Lawrence: