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The Next ‘Twilight’? Jack O’Connell and Alice Englert to Lead ‘Beautiful Creatures’ Adaptation

Sometime around 2008, when The Twilight Saga was proving to be beyond bankable, bookstores were deluged with a bevy of YA titles that all seemed hellbent on capturing the presumed magic of Stephenie Meyer’s series. As if some of their plotlines didn’t already sound interchangeable enough (magic, mythical creatures, forbidden love, weak characterization), most of their cover art looked oddly similar – which is why I can recall seeing the covers of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s Caster Chronicles series, but never happened to pick them up to take a look. It looks like I might need to change that, at least if I want to stay current with my YA-books-getting-turned-into-movies news.

The first book in the five-book series is set for a big screen adaptation, thanks to Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment, and while Beautiful Creatures already got a major credibility bump when Viola Davis joined its cast last week, now the real news is out – who will star as the leads in yet another tale of star-crossed lovers.

Jack O’Connell (“Skins,” This is England, Harry Brown) and relative newcomer Alice Englert (The Water Diary) are set to play Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, respectively. Beautiful Creatures is set in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina and follows the fortunes of Lena and Ethan after the bewitching Lena moves to town. What I’ve gleaned from some Internet sleuthing is that Lena possesses some type of supernatural power (the fan site CasterGirls tells us that a caster is “a race of Supernatural with varying powers, featured in The Caster Chronicles” or “a person with the power to be him/herself, regardless of what other think”) and that it entangles her both with Ethan and a nasty brand of family curse that implicates much of the town.

Garcia and Stohl have also penned “Beautiful Darkness,” which was published back in October of 2010, and “Beautiful Chaos,” which followed last October. With a planned five-book series, you better believe that Warner and Alcon are looking to make this one a series. Richard LaGravenese has adapted the script for Beautiful Creatures and will direct from it.

Will this be the next Twilight? It remains to be seen, but kids these days could do far worse than some lite Gothic lit. [Variety, via FirstShowing]

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for VanityFair.com, Cosmopolitan.com, RollingStone.com, Vulture, MTV.com, Details.com, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and Film.com. She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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