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Downton's Lily James turns 'kick-ass Elizabeth Bennet' in zombie Pride and Prejudice adaptation

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If we closed our eyes and imagined the most fun role ever, it would be something that combined all the gentility of Jane Austen with the guts and gore of the undead.

Kudos to Downton Abbey's Lily James then, who's set to play "the most kickass Elizabeth Bennett we’ve ever seen" in an upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's 2009 book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Surrey-born actress James, 26, is best known for her turn as the mannered Lady Rose in Downton, as well as taking the lead in  Kenneth Branagh’s glittering live-action version of Cinderella this year. 

But she'll be putting a bloodythirsty spin on her English rose image for her latest role of Lizzie with a twist, tackling the "sorry stricken" (i.e. zombies) alongside Sam Riley's Mr Darcy, for the February 2016 film release.

The film also stars Suki Waterhouse as Kitty, Matt Smith as the odious Mr. Collins and Sally Phillips as Mrs. Bennet - as well as Game of Throne's Lena Headey. 

The book tells the story of how the "tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge - an army of undead zombies."

It blends the 1813 Austen classic with a hefty dose of zombified horror-humour.

Darcy and the Bennet sisters will take a lead role in slaying the undead, with the help of some specially-crafted martial art skills.

"There is a scene where my proposal to her [Lily James' Lizzie] goes horribly wrong and we end up having a fight in the drawing room where she attacks me with the letter opener and poker," Riley tells the Independent

"I can speak from experience that she’s pretty lethal."

Speaking at a press conference, James herself added that, "Being us five girls, the Bennet sisters, fighting together and destroying together was really, really fun."

Pride and Prejudice

The original book

A trailer for the film has yet to be released (watch this space) but the cast were in town for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 this week, to talk about the film.

See what they have to say on all things Austen and zombie hunting in a panel discussion at the event, below. 

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