Theme: (Via Rex Parker) Dice. A rebus where the across theme answers include the letters DIE in two contiguous squares thereby making the singular into the plural DICE. For the down answers, the square with DIE is just a three-letter string.
17A. 1813 novel made into a 2005 film = Pride and Preju DIE DIE (Pride and Prejudice)
25A. Five-time Emmy-winning actress = Can DIE DIE Bergan (Candace Bergen)
46A. Racy book named after a Victorian garment = Bo DIE DIE Ripper (Bodice Ripper)
59A. Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content = Long Islan DIE DIE D Tea (Long Island Iced Tea)
After figuring out the rebus, getting all the theme answers and finishing the puzzle error-free, I still had no clue what the theme was. So, as noted above, Rex Parker to the rescue. I immediately knew that bodice rippers was the answer to 46-Across, and not being able to fit all the letters into the available squares was an instant tip-off that a rebus was involved. Though I’m not familiar with Long Island Tea (59-Across), I had no problem coming up with Pride and Prejudice and Candace Bergen for the answers to 17- and 25-Across respectively. The initial difficulty was determining which squares contained the rebus. After I figured that out, I was totally stymied because putting the word’s ending letters in some sort of rebus configuration didn’t work. To say it was driving me crazy was an understatement. Nevertheless, I persevered. The first indication that DIE was the correct fill came when I filled in 29-Down (RushDIE).* That led me to filling in DIE for other Down answers.
*One of our favorite restaurants in the city is Upland. The first time we ate there shortly after it opened in December 2014, I spotted Salman Rushdie at a table near ours.