It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single film in possession of a great box office success will be wrung dry until every last drop of creative blood is squeezed out of it.
In this case, literally.
My lords, ladies and gentlemen, may I present the film Pride and Prejudice and… Zombies, that had its world premiere in London’s Leicester Square on Monday night.
Now there’s a movie mash-up you probably didn’t see coming.
Unless you happened to have read the novel – the zombie version, which was released back in 2009 – not the original Jane Austen book that came out in 1813.
The horror parody, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, went straight on to the New York Times Best Seller List, though it’s estimated that at least 85 per cent of the words are Jane Austen’s.
TheBritish film stars Lily James, who’s used to all this period costume acting from her work on War and Peace and Downtown Abbey.
As well as the old Doctor Who Matt Smith, and featuring Charles Dance as Mr Bennett, father to the five Bennett girls, all searching for love and … well, eviscerated zombies.
My daughters are trained for battle, sir… not the kitchen.
–Charles Dance as Mr Bennett in the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
There is, as you might imagine, a lot of sword swooshing and clanging, a lot of crinoline frocks rustling, some screaming, the sound of zombies being squished, more screaming, horses’ hooves drumming, bosoms heaving, and then some more screaming.
So amidst all this action, how on earth can anyone hear any of the oh-so-precise and clipped Austen-esque dialogue? How does the film not become a huge messy audio mash-up, too?
LMMNews spoke to Simon Diggins, who was part of the post-production team that worked on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, to find out.
Simon Diggins, ADR specialist at Goldcrest Post Production, London. (image: Light and Time Photography)
A veteran of film and TV post production at Goldcrest in London’s Soho, he’s also worked on Harry Potter and the recent BAFTA-nominated MacBeth movie.
His job has been to ensure that every bit of dialogue (or screaming) is perfectly placed, what’s commonly known in the business as ADR.
But how do actors cope with what must be an unnatural environment in the film-making process, sometimes long after shooting is completed?
Which begs the question, are these artists of audio, so crucial to the production of high quality films, over-looked?
Whether Pride and Prejudice and Zombies leaves you grinning or glowering at the state of Hollywood, this kind of genre juxtaposition is not going away.
Also available on a movie-streaming platform near you are Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters… yes, Sea Monsters, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
At this rate, every Victorian with a drop of box-office blood left in them, will be literally spinning in their graves.
You can listen to the full radio feature here: