Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Mike White: A Winning Combination?

Mike White, the erstwhile "Amazing Race" contestant (and screenwriter of such tenderhearted comedies of the absurd as "School of Rock" and "Nacho Libre"), emerged as the underdog winner of the prized and highly contested job directing the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. White, who previously directed the little-seen offbeat Molly Shannon comedy, "Year of the Dog," beat out the likes of Jonathan Demme ("Rachel Getting Married"), Mike Newell ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"), and David Slade ("Eclipse") for the prized gig, enabling him to bring his emotionally-insightful-but-blithely-bizarro sensibility to  Seth Grahame-Smith's gothic remix of Jane Austen's classic saga of the Bennett sisters' collective terror of ending up spinsters.

David O. Russell ("The Fighter") was originally attached and then dropped when he got impatient with the film's plodding development process. Once Russell vacated the director's chair, filmmakers swarmed the project like so many zombies on a fresh kill. And though White is not the most obvious or road-tested choice, White ("Nacho Libre," "The Good Girl") has a unique knack for bringing startling emotional insight to his camped-out comedies of the absurd. And he even has prior zombie experience. See if you can spot White's cameo appearance in the "Zombieland" trailer: