After building momentum with Natalie Portman and director David O. Russell in 2009, the adaptation of writer Seth Grahame-Smith's popular mash-up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies slowly sunk back down into the grave. Over the past few years, the project has had a rotating ensemble of potential leads, from Scarlett Johansson to Mia Wasikowska to Anne Hathaway. The project looked as good as dead — that is until today, when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with Mortal Instruments star Lily Collins joined the Jane Austen-inspired horror flick.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Collins is attached to star in the long-gestating hybrid under the direction of Burr Steers (17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud). With Walking Dead topping TV ratings charts and smaller genre movies like Warm Bodies making bank at the box office, zombies are still a hot topic in Hollywood. Pairing rising star Collins with the brain-eating beasts is a no brainer.
Seeing as the book cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesis even more famous than the text inside, we had to wonder: does Collins have the right look for rotting flesh? Judge for yourself:
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Lily Collins is sinking her teeth into the zombie craze by reportedly taking on the lead role in a horror parody of Jane Austen classic Pride And Prejudice. Phil Collins' actress daughter has been tapped to play Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's book which adds flesh-eating monsters to Austen's period novel.
Burr Steers, who directed Zac Efron in 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud, will take charge of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Natalie Portman was originally set for the leading lady role, while Scarlett Johansson, Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway were also said to have been considered.
Hosting an awards show is a thankless job. Even if you do well, it's likely few will really remember you. If you really fudge it up (and you know I didn't really want to say fudge right there), then it can be a stain on the rest of your career. And that is the challenge that Jimmy Kimmel faces when he hosts the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (as they're called on their long-form birth certificate) on Sept. 23.
So what advice can we give him? Since we can only judge based on past awards shows, let's look back at the history books. How can he be as successful as some who have gone before him?
Sing a Song: Know who kills as a host of the Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, Kid's Choice Awards, Ari Weisenberg's Bar Mitzvah, or any thing that he has ever hosted or will ever host in his whole life? Neil Patrick Harris. What does he always start with? A jazzy song and dance number. Come on, Jimmy, we know that you masterminded "I'm Fudging Ben Affleck." That is exactly what the Emmys need: A viral hit.
Script Something: Remember when the Emmys finally deigned to give the reality show hosts their own category, and in celebration, had all the nominees host the show that year? Yes, it was a national nightmare. They actually came out on stage and said, "Just like in reality, we have nothing planned." For real. Now, that is fudging ridiculous. (This is why you have a bad rap, reality.) And we shall never forgive Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandell, Jeff Probst, or Ryan Seacrest for perpetrating this on us.
Be Alone: A good host should act like a good boyfriend — he should make you feel like you're the most important person in the world, and, in turn, you should only want to focus on him. Look at how awful it was when the reality group hosted. Then, in 2003, there was like 11 hosts. No, there was lit-rally, to quote Rachel Zoe, 11 hosts. We can't even remember one. And who cares! Just let one guy do it. Don't share, Jimmy. Don't you dare.
Host a News Show: There are a surprising number of journalists who have hosted the show: Jane Pauley, Hugh Downs, Bryant Gumbel, Jon Stewart, Chet Huntley. That's weird. So perhaps Kimmel should get a lined notebook and put a card that said "Press" in his hat. Or maybe not. There's a reason why Anderson Cooper doesn't have this gig.
Have a Long Skinny Microphone: Television personality Art Linkletter hosted the Emmys twice. Let's remember the good ol' days of mid-century game shows and equip Kimmel with one of those long skinny microphones like on Match Game or one of Linkletter's programs. That would be so rad.
Differentiate Yourself: I have a really hard time keeping Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon separate. They're like the Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney of late night TV. And since Fallon just hosted the Emmys in 2010, Kimmel really has to do something different unless he wants the two of them to be the Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato of Emmy Hosts. Fallon did that whole canned opening with the cast of Glee. Please don't do that. Please, no Glee.
Come Out: Seriously, the hosts of the Emmys are gayer than Richard Simmons' headband collection. The aforementioned NPH, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres (multiple times!), David Hyde Pierce, Raymond Burr, Joan Rivers (an honorary inductee). Still, there must be something that connects the gay gene with the hosting gene. How about Jimmy get some of that? Wait, maybe we should call Anderson Cooper after all. Either way, I'm sure Ben Affleck will be thrilled to help out.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Beneath the glossy sheen of Zac Efron there exists the makings of quite a fine actor glimpses of which were seen in both the blockbuster comedy 17 Again and the indie drama Me and Orson Welles. His transition out of the Disney-fied teen-dream world and into more adult-oriented projects is a gradual uneasy one as is evidenced by his latest film the metaphysical drama Charlie St. Cloud which finds him perched squarely in between the two camps. Efron it appears is in that awkward stage.
In Charlie St. Cloud Efron plays the title character a carefree college-bound sailing star whose bright future is torpedoed when an awful auto wreck takes the life of his beloved kid brother Sam (Charlie Tahan). Charlie at the wheel of the car at the time of the crash briefly dies himself only to be wrested from a flatline by a particularly stubborn and spiritual EMT (Ray Liotta).
Years later Charlie’s body has made a full recovery but his mind remains plagued by some nasty after-effects of the tragedy. He’s given up sailing ditched his college plans gotten a job at a cemetery and taken up the habit of holding regular conversations with dead people — specifically his brother Sam with whom he meets daily in a forest clearing to play catch. Usually such mental deterioration coincides fairly closely with physical deterioration which is why you don’t encounter a lot of well-groomed paranoid schizophrenics on skid row. But Charlie has kept up with his workout and grooming regimens earning a reputation among the residents of his sleepy Pacific Northwest town as a sort of beautiful nutcase.
Unable to escape his all-consuming grief Charlie seems doomed to retreat further into isolation and despair until salvation arrives wrapped in a cardigan: Tess (Amanda Crew) a feisty pro sailor and no stranger to tragedy herself can see beyond Charlie’s unhinged persona to the sensitive troubled and irresistibly hot man that lies beneath. As their relationship deepens Charlie is increasingly torn between his imaginary friends and his real-life love.
It’s a noble aim giving tweens questions deeper than just “Edward or Jacob?” to contemplate and Charlie St. Cloud’s principal message “life is for living ” is a worthwhile one. But director Burr Steers having learned from the success of 17 Again clearly knows where his bread is buttered and so he takes care to sate the demands of Efron’s screeching fanbase by stocking the film with ample glowing shots of his star lovingly lit and clad invariably in a light blue solid color shirt and emoting against a picturesque coastal landscape. (Lest you think I'm exaggerating check out this studio-supplied promo clip featuring an interview with a shirtless Efron.) The awkward mix of existential drama and Abercrombie & Fitch commercial combined with a healthy dose of loopy Sixth Sense-esque supernatural shenanigans tossed in toward the end makes for an experience only the most fawning of Efron’s fans could enjoy.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
When a strong-willed business woman is suddenly told she might lose her job and be deported to her native Canada she impulsively forces her ever-loyal executive assistant into a shotgun engagement in order to get a green card and stay in the country. The plan gets complicated when the mismatched twosome must go to meet his family in Alaska and convince everyone including a pesky government investigator that their impending marriage is the real thing.
WHO’S IN IT?
Sandra Bullock has never been more appealing in the kind of “tough boss” role normally associated with male actors. The Proposal turns the usual romantic comedy tables around giving Bullock lots to play with — and she certainly makes the most of it painting a hilarious picture of an attractive and surprisingly vulnerable business exec caught in a situation spiraling out of control. Ryan Reynolds’ sitcom expertise is put to good use in the role of her willingly unwilling assistant who must join her charade or risk losing his job. This is Reynolds’ best outing as a rom-com lead yet and he shows he could own the genre if provided the right material. Stealing the movie from both of them however is the irrepressible Betty White who plays Reynolds’ saucy Grammy. Once again the Golden Girls alum proves she has comic timing second to none.
Knowing the standard romantic comedy setup just isn’t going to cut it anymore director Anne Fletcher (Step Up 27 Dresses) turns The Proposal into more of a screwball farce letting the laughs fly without forcing them on us. She’s helped by two game lead players who really know their way around this well-worn genre and provide just the right balance to keep this merry soufflé from falling apart. The breathtaking remote locations (Massachusetts oddly enough substitutes for Alaska) don’t hurt.
No matter how inventive the script it’s pretty obvious where things are going to wind up in any romantic comedy. But The Proposal despite following the standard blueprint still manages to keep us guessing until the very end and that accounts for most of the fun.
A scene in which Bullock and Reynolds accidentally run into each other sans clothing is hilarious worthy of the best farceurs. A close second is a sequence involving a little dog a menacing eagle and a cell phone. Classic stuff.
BEST REASON TO PLOP DOWN 10 BUCKS?
After 60 — count ‘em 60 — years in show business with six Emmys and numerous TV series to show for it Betty White at age 87 still proves there can be second third and even fourth acts in life. She gives a movie star turn here that shows everyone how it’s done.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
As an alternative to big summer action flicks and gross-out comedies The Proposal is definitely the date movie du jour.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Proving that everything “old” can be new again 17 Again opens in 1989 where star basketball player Mike O’Donnell turns his back on a college scholarship deciding instead to marry his girlfriend Scarlet when she reveals they are suddenly expecting a baby. Cut to 20 years later Mike’s marriage and job are floundering when he is physically transformed back into his 17-year-old self although his mind and sensibilities still remain that of a decidedly square thirtysomething dude. With the help of his nerdy-turned-billionaire best childhood buddy Ned he gets himself enrolled in the same school his own teenage kids now attend. Can he help them avert the same kinds of mistakes now that he (sorta) has a second chance to change?
WHO’S IN IT?
Zac Efron (High School Musical) shoots and scores in a breakout starring role. He shows he’s got the comic chops to believably pull off the way-out-there premise of being a 37-year-old trapped in a 17-year-old’s body. Matthew Perry (Friends) does a nice job bookending the movie as the older Mike but it’s Efron’s show all the way. Thomas Lennon follows up his hilarious supporting antics as the spurned man-date in I Love You Man with some equally amusing work as Mike’s friend Ned while Leslie Mann plays the estranged wife in style. As Mike’s kids who unknowingly become high school buds with their own father newcomer Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg get enough screen time to shine. Melora Hardin (The Office) is also quite funny as the school principal that lovelorn Ned keeps stalking.
Although the premise of the adult/kid switcheroo has been done to death director Burr Steers and writer Jason Filardi take it one step further a la It's a Wonderful Life or Damn Yankees by letting their main character regain his youth for the chance to see what his life would be like if he could live it another way. This fanciful premise makes this “teen” comedy one that adults will probably enjoy even more.
The filmmakers sometimes have a tendency to go over the top particularly in the "Star Wars fight sequence" when the newly transformed Mike confronts old friend Ned with the news and a laser battle erupts (!). Another scene where 17-year-old Mike is seduced by his own unwitting daughter may be funny but it veers a little too far into creepy territory.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
If you like 17 Again try renting 18 Again in which 81-year-old George Burns switches places with his grandson. Or how about Big Vice Versa Like Father Like Son or either version of Freaky Friday? And who said there are no original ideas in Hollywood ...
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
A no-brainer — the "Zac Pack" will be out in force on opening day.