Natalie Portman and 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'

Perhaps it is due to her trademark faraway stare, but we had our money on Natalie Portman playing a zombie in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." No: She's playing the lead role in this adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's book.

You probably remember the book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Jane Austen/zombie mashup which managed to be both a big hit and read by almost nobody we know. Now Portman is starring as Elizabeth Bennet in the zombie flick/period piece adaptation which is being produced by her company, handsomecharlie, and director Richard Kellys' Darko Productions. Funniest thing is what Portman's handsomecharlie partner, Annette Savitch, said about the project: "The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story." Right, because we have all these zombies running around now? [Variety]

•Today The Wrap investigates a paradox: Fewer movies were made this year, but they made more money. There were 20 percent fewer films this year than in 2008, but they surpassed the $10 billion mark collectively for the first time in history. The Wrap advances a few explanations: 1) ticket sales are up; 2) the average price of a ticket rose 4.2 percent, to $7.48 (thanks, in part, to more 3D films); 3) movie-goers want to escape the shitty economy; 4) an influx of big-name sequels; and 5) Sandra bullock. Seriously, her two movies this year will gross more than $300 million once "The Blind Side's" run is finished. [The Wrap]

•But if Paramount has its way, there might be a bunch more movies next year: Hot on the spectacular success of the $15,000 "Paranormal Activity" (which grossed more than $100 million), Paramount has announced plans to finance up to 20 'micro-budget' films per year, which each have budgets of less that $100,000. [LAT]

•Although, Incentive Filmed Entertainment is planning on making fewer movies with bigger budgets. The company is abandoning its plan to make 10 films at $15 million a piece; now they're making only 2-4 at $30 million. Sheesh, make up your mind, Hollywood. [Variety]

•Anyone who likes the film "The Foot Fist Way" or the HBO series "Eastbound and Down" will be excited now: Actor Danny McBride ("Eastbound and Down" "Pineapple Express") along with his frequent collaborator's Jody Hill and David Gordon Green have set up Rough House Pictures under Mandate Pictures. They will make comedies, which we will probably laugh at. [Variety]

•Kate Micucci was so good in her audition for Fox's new comedy "Hope" that she convinced creator Greg Garcia to switch the gender of the main character, originally "Mike," to a female. Either that is spectacular acting or terrible script-writing. [The Wrap]