Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Matt Smith and Jack Huston Share Zombie Apocalypse Strategies
We talked to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies stars Matt Smith and Jack Huston about their new movie.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is hitting movie theaters just in time for Valentine’s Day, and its cast is filled with some familiar faces, including former Doctor Whostar Matt Smith and Boardwalk Empirealum Jack Huston. Smith plays silly Bennet cousin Mr. Collins, while Huston takes on the role of the deceptive Mr. Wickham.
We caught up with the actors at San Diego Comic Con last summer to chat all things zombies. Most importantly: what the film’s stars would do in the event of a real-life zombie attack. Here’s what they had to say…
On crossing zombies and Austen…
One of the trickiest thing about adapting the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesto the big screen was getting the tone right. It must have all of the things we love about Austen’s stories — the wit, the socioeconomic context, the romance — and zombies.
“It was such a fun cast that Burr sort of pulled together,” Huston said of the experience. “Instantly, you realize that you’re making a zombie movie, but it is Jane Austen, so it’s very easy to realize the comedic element of it. You sort of play the realism as much as you can. But Matt plays Mr. Collins in the movie and he’s unreal. He’s so funny in the film. It’s amazing. He does it for the rest of us.”
“But I didn’t get to fight any zombies,” Smith adds, “whereas you guys got some classic fights.”
Huston responds: “The girls are pretty kickass. The girl totally outdo the guys in this film. I mean Sam [Riley]’s pretty badass — he plays Darcy. There is a good fight between me and Sam.”
On living up to the legacy…
Though Pride and Prejudice and Zombies might not have a very long history, Pride and Prejudiceis a beloved classic in both book and film form, with many adaptations of the latter having only graced both the film and televisions screen. What were Huston and Smith’s relationship to the source material prior to taking on the project, and were they nervous to take on such iconic roles?
While Smith says he’d never read Pride and Prejudicegrowing up (though he mentioned that he had seen the BBC version starring Colin Firth), Huston says it was a staple of his school studies: “In England, you sort of shrouded in so much history and like the houses and the costumes, it sort of happens rather seamlessly.”
“It’s one of those things that’s sort of embedded in the fabric of the nation: Jane Austen,” Smith adds. “And so, therefore, there’s a familiarity to it. But, actually, with this movie, I think it’s important that that love story and that central Pride and Prejudice-ness is really there, but also… we’ve got zombies in it, which is an added element.”
Huston says: “It’s not sacrificing anything of the original novel, from Jane Austen. It keeps up with everything, all of the same elements, all of the same journey, all the characters. Yet, it has this sort of wonderful added element of the undead, so you’re sort of getting more, in a way. I hate to say that because it’s quite hard to up Jane Austen.”
On who their characters would cosplay as…
Cosplay is an integral part of the Comic Con experience. Who do Huston and Smith think their characters might dress up as for SDCC, given the chance?
“[Mr. Collins] would come as like Princess Leia in the gold bikini, I think [or] someone obtuse and camp.”
“Who would Wickham come as?” asks Huston. “I think maybe as himself because he’s so up his own ass, isn’t he?”
“Wickham would be a good Batman,” Smith offers…
On Smith’s dance scene…
“I think my favorite scene is of Matt dancing,” says Huston, referring to a ball scene that comes in the first half of the movie, and features Smith busting some Regency-era moves…
“It’s just the best. The dancing is normally what you get in a Jane Austen movie, and it’s usually quite stiff. But it’s so nice to see something different, and that happens in this film. That dance scene is one of the funniest and most brilliant scenes in the film. It makes you laugh out loud. I think you killed it in that one.”
For his part, Smith like the fight scenes — of which he is, generally, not a part: “I think that the fight scenes are really fantastic. The fact that it’s the girls that are totally the empowered characters is a wonderful thing. The girls really get to swish and kick and look sexy.”
Huston agrees: “It’s not like the girls are sacrificed. They are really good. They really went for it. The girls do a lot more than we did, and it really shows.”
On which other classic novel should be zombie-fied…
Which classic novel do Huston and Smith suggest should be “zombie-fied”? Smith proposes Catcher in the Rye, to which Huston agrees: “That’d be great because he’d be an awesome zombie killer because he’d just hate everyone.”
On their strategies for a real-life zombie attack…
“Well, I’d tickle them, invite them for tea, then tell them to stop being naughty,” says Smith of his strategy for the impending zombie apocalypse. “Stop being naughty zombies. Stop eating everyone else. Let’s just watch Game of Thrones together.”
Huston’s plan? “I always think I’d probably go live on a mountain or on a yacht … Commandeer a yacht, sail, the seven seas … They’d really have to swim to find me. I’m gonna go middle of the Pacific in a yacht with some really great people.”
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opens in theaters February 5th.