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Matt Smith at the Cannes Film Festival back in May 2014. (Photo: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Whovian Austenites rejoice! The Hollywood Reporter today (September 17) broke the news that Matt Smith has joined the cast of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith‘s zombie charged adaptation of Jane Austen‘s most cherished novel.

Natalie Portman was initially cast as Elizabeth Bennett when the film began production in 2009. Presently, Natalie has taken a backseat as a producer of the film transmitting the role of zombie-fighting Lizzie to Lily James of Downton Abbey fame. Smith will play self-obsessed clergyman, Mr. Collins, who’s in quest of a wife—preferably one with a knack for slaying zombies.

Directed by Burr Steers (17 Again), the film centers around Austen’s heroine Lizzie in a period of stringent societal standards, pressuring parents, and… zombies! Lizzie would rather defend England from zombies than espouse (sorry, Fitzwilliam).

Smith is joined by castmates Sam Riley (Maleficent), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire, Kill Your Darlings), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows) and Douglas Booth (Noah).

Fresh from four seasons of Doctor Who, his forthcoming U.S. acting debut in Ryan Gosling‘s Lost River, and a major role in the upcoming Terminator trilogy, Smith is zooming into the stratosphere. And with Smith in the ring, we’re happy the casting and production of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took so long to get rolling!

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By Helen Donahue