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Downton star Lily James to star in Jane Austen zombie film

Lily James

Story by Jack Foley

DOWNTON Abbey actress Lily James is to sttar in a big screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel.

She joins Australian actress Bella Heathcote and On The Road star Sam Riley in the film, which continues to focus on the romantic entanglements Austen created in the original between different social classes in 19th Century England, but which also adds a new sub-plot involving the dead rising from the grave.

Hence, Elizabeth Bennet (to be played by James) is a kung-fu expert dedicated to wiping out the zombie menace in the quiet village of Meryton.

Riley will play love interest Mr Darcy, while Heathcote will play one of the Bennet sisters.

Burr Steers, whose credits include the Zac Efron romantic drama Charlie St Cloud, is directing from a script he co-wrote with David O Russell – the five times Oscar nominee, whose films include The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.

In book form, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has sold more than 1.5 million copies and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 41 weeks.

A film adaptation has been in the pipeline since 2009 but has gone through several incarnations during that time.

James, who plays Lady Rose in Downton, will next be seen in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella.

Heathcote’s credits include Tim Burton’s 2012 film Dark Shadows, while Sam Riley was recently seen alongside Angelina Jolie in Disney’s box office smash, Maleficent.

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