Seth Grahame-Smith has written two books, both of which are becoming films. However, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is having a harder time getting to the big screen than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Timur Bekmambetov is directing Lincoln, and shooting has already begun, while David O. Russell wrote the script for P&P&Z and then quit, then Mike White replaced Russell and then dropped out too.
Rather than wait for a third director to come and go, Grahame-Smith and fellow Hard Times of RJ Berger producer David Katzenberg have attempted to sell themselves to the studio as first-time directors. Grahame-Smith told Collider about their progress.
Honestly, it’s great that we’re in consideration. Who knows how it will turn out. We went into Lionsgate and made what I thought was a really great case for ourselves, in a visual presentation to them, and pitched our case for directing the movie, and I don’t think we would have done that, if we didn’t have these two seasons of running the show and directing all these episodes under our belts. By no means do we think we’re god’s gift to directing, at this point in our careers. We’re young guys and we’re still learning, but I think that we’re both hard-working and we’re both ambitious. I think that doing something like that just makes sense for us, going forward.
Grahame-Smith wasn't thrown by the prolonged process of bringing P&P&Z to the big screen.
It is how things work in the movie business. You read all these things about all these stops and starts with Pride and Prejudice, and how long it’s taking to become a movie, but the book only came out two and a half years ago. When you compare that to however long it’s taken to get The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay made, or another book that found a big audience, it hasn’t taken that long, relatively speaking. It’s just the way it works. It’s just a business of hurry up and wait. When they find the right director, whether it’s us or someone else, they already have a great script and they already have a studio that wants to greenlight the movie, so I don’t think it will be long, after they make their director decision, that things really get going quickly.
Grahame-Smith also discussed adapting his own book into a movies cript.
The challenge with Lincoln was adapting my own book. I had to cannibalize and just give up all ownership of the book, in my mind. What makes a good book and what makes a good movie are totally different things. Someone told me that the best adaptations are merely inspired by the book, they’re not dictated by the book. That took awhile to learn. It took me awhile to get to the point where I could say, “Okay, maybe this movie does need a villain,” since there’s no villain in the book. And then, it was, “Who is that villain?” It was a huge learning experience for me.
The book deals with slavery, in a very delicate way. In retrospect, I should have had an African American point of view in the book. In the book, the slaves, until the very end of the book, are just victimized. That’s something that works, in terms of a book that’s purporting itself to be historically accurate, but at the same time, in a movie, you need all points of view.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens June 22, 2012.