David O. Russell, Jonathan Demme and Matt Reeves have been linked to the project at various points
Craig Gillespie will direct Lionsgate's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," the studio announced Monday.
Gillespie directed "Lars and the Real Girl" and is directing "Fright Night," starring Colin Farrell.
According to Lionsgate, the movie "retells the timeless story of love and independence amidst the ghastly threat of the undead. A mysterious plague has fallen upon England, and the dead are returning to life. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet courageously battles the zombie menace, but is distracted in her efforts to preserve England by the arrival of the arrogant Mr. Darcy.
"As the feelings between Elizabeth and Darcy erupt in sharp barbs and civilized sparring, it is the blood-soaked combat with zombies on the battlefield that unites them."
Russell told the Wall Street Journal that he chose not to direct the movie because the studio's budget was too low.
“The studio budgeted it as a genre zombie movie and gave me $25 to $28 million," he told the newspaper. "I was like, that’s not cool. We have crazy big action sequences in it. It’s very commercial; we have a major romance. It’s a period film. And we’re doing it on the budget that we did “The Fighter?” It made no sense to me. That I found was frustrating.”
Natalie Portman is producing the movie through her handsomecharlie films with Annette Savitch. Savitch arranged for Darko Entertainment to acquire the rights to the book from Quirk Books.
Darko's Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick and Ted Hamm also are producing.