‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’ Star Lena Headey Describes Filming Experience As Bizarre

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is a unique take on the Jane Austen novel and, for Lena Headey, filming the drama-turned-horror film was as bizarre an experience as one might think it was, especially since the Game of Thrones actress was pregnant at the time. Lena confesses that filming Pride And Prejudice And Zombies made her sick to her stomach, for which she blames the action and constant motion, as opposed to the blood and gore. She’s used to that from her Game of Thrones scenes.

Pregnancy Couldn’t Keep Lena Headey From Hunting Zombies In Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

Headey reveals that she was pregnant with daughter Ted at the time filming on Pride And Prejudice And Zombies commenced, so that added a degree of difficulty to her role. Still, she managed to endure the long film sessions and mostly kept the nausea and the other pregnancy symptoms in check. Lena adds that it felt bizarre to be dressed up in a costume that included an eye patch plastered on her face and battling the undead with a pirate’s sword, all while carrying her daughter in her belly.

“It was the early days of my pregnancy and I felt absolutely hideous every day,” Ms. Headey said. “Maybe all this zombie-killing will be in her DNA someday.”

Ted is seven months old now and, if she did pick up her mom’s zombie-killing genes, they won’t have just come from Pride And Prejudice And Zombies. Lena has been proving her killer instincts in such films as 300 (2006), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008), The Purge (2013), and the aforementioned Game of Thrones.

As a mother and an actress who has passed her prime, according to the ageist rules by which Hollywood chooses its leading ladies, Headey feels very fortunate to still be working as steadily as she does. She says she sees first hand what happens to actresses who are no longer cast as a love interest and are not yet mature enough to play the grandmotherly roles.

“It’s an interesting trajectory for a woman. I played the young ‘Oh, I love him’ (ingénue),” said the 42-year old British actress. “Now, because I’m a tough old hag, I get to play all the tough old b***hes. In terms of Hollywood, anything over 40, it’s, ‘Surely she can only play a grandma.’ But I’m also not afraid of that.”

Headey says she was looking forward to playing in a film that’s part Jane Austen and part George Romero, because it puts an interesting new spin on the classic tale. There was also another reason Lena was eager to take on the role.

” ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a rite of passage for British actresses,” Headey said. “But it was fun to be a tad camp for a minute — also, I got to wear an eye patch. My motivation doesn’t run much deeper than that, I’m afraid.”

Reviews Of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies Are As Mismatched As This Maddening Mash Up

The film, based on the 2009 novel of the same name, by Seth Grahame-Smith, takes Austen’s hero, Darcy, played by Sam Riley, and casts him as a deadly zombie hunter. Lily James plays Elizabeth, who is Darcy’s equal in most ways. As is the case in Austen’s novel, the two find themselves at odds at first and, as time passes and they get to know one another, a romance develops, but Grahame-Smith’s addition of zombies sets this story apart from the original classic novel.

Essentially, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies seeks to do that which we have often been warned cannot be done — it tries to please everyone all at once. Details of the classic story are are trimmed down until the original Jane Austen story is barely recognizable. This is done to please the horror fans, who are treated to the usual blood and gore associated with zombie movies. While classic literary fans will be turned off by the gore, the dramatic sequences, which try to pay homage to the Austen version, may bore the horror fans. There may, however, be a segment of fans that will appreciate the melding of romance and horror, but will they be enough to fill theater seats?

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is currently playing in theaters.

[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]