Cinesite completed over 200 visual effects for Pride and Prejudice and
Zombies, the zombie film directed by Burr Steers and based on the
celebrated Jane Austin classic. Work on the visual effects was shared across
Cinesite’s London and Montreal studios.
Based on the bestselling book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, the plot
follows the repercussions of a mysterious plague that has fallen upon 19th century
England, which is now overrun with the undead. Feisty heroine and martial arts
expert, Elizabeth Bennet, joins forces with Mr. Darcy to battle the zombies while
discovering their love for each other.
Cinesite’s Simon Stanley-Clamp served as VFX supervisor, getting involved at the
pre-production stage. Filming took place late in 2014 at a range of National Trust
properties within the M25 London area. Production designer David Warren and
prosthetic make-up supervisor Mark Coulier were closely involved with visual
effects, both before and during filming to ensure consistency of style and approach.
Cinesite’s visual effects covered the creation of a range of environments, digital
make-up and prosthetics, flashbacks to London burning during a zombie attack,
crowds of computer generated rampaging zombies, decapitation and limb removal.
In the world of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the zombies are kept
enclosed in London behind a great wall and a defensive barricade known by
production as The Meat Muncher. The gateway to Hertfordshire County, which
adjoins the Muncher, was built as a set piece, surveyed and tracked with a 3D
environment built from production artwork. The Meat Muncher, which forms part of
this 3D environment, is a combination of large, conjoined, barbed metal wheels
which form an imposing wall, slowly grinding at the ground to stop the zombies
from escaping under or over.
Other environments, including the Bennets’ House and several rural properties
around England, required the addition of defensive towers and fortifications.
At the climax of the film, where zombies are converging on the last defence against
the plague, Hinckley Bridge, the structure is destroyed in a dramatic explosion. The
100-foot bridge set was originally constructed at Shepperton Studios’ backlot.
Cinesite’s team extended the set digitally, adding to the pyrotechnics with its
extensive library of SFX elements and bespoke CG FX for the flames, explosions
Enhancement of digital zombie make-up also made up a major part of Cinesite’s
work. Minimal prosthetics were applied to the actresses and later modified
extensively with digital make-up along with re-projected, exposed, skeletal detail
The film was released on 5 February in the US and Canada, and on 11 February in