Alden Ehrenreich...franchise star? That looks like it could be the case. The indie darling and Coppola fave (appearing in Sofia's "Somewhere" and Francis' "Tetro" and "Twixt") isn't a stranger to franchise movies, having tested last fall for Warner Bros' stuck-in-development-hell "Akira," but now he's making a move that will put him in front of his biggest audience yet.
Alcon Entertainment announced today that Ehrenreich was taking over the co-lead role in "Beautiful Creatures" from Jack O'Connell, who had to exit the film over scheduling conflicts. An adaptation of the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl -- the first in a series, naturally -- which is being written and directed by Richard LaGravanese ("P.S. I Love You") the picture will see Ehrenreich starring opposite Alice Englert as leads Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, two teens in the deep south who are drawn together by a strange connection and supernatural secrets. The film will be distributed by WB and we reckon they like what they saw in the screen test and re-upped Ehrenreich here.
He joins a pretty great cast which includes Viola Davis (Amma), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln/Sarafine), Jeremy Irons (Macon), Emmy Rossum (Ridley), Thomas Mann (Link), Zoey Deutch (Emily), Margo Martindale (Aunt Del), and Rachel Brosnahan (Genevieve). This is a pretty nice career boost for the actor who also has a role in Park Chan-Wook's highly anticipated "Stoker" coming along as well. Looks like tweens are gonna have a another heartthrob to swoon over, and if WB is lucky, a new franchise to match the YA success of "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games."