By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 17, 2011 at 4:40AM
Model Leebo Freeman Also In The Running
While we're yet to see whether youthful, dickish star Alex Pettyfer's move into more serious territory with Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" and the actioner "Overdrive" is a good thing or not, there's certainly one group who are delighted with the actor's career shift: other high-cheekboned young actors! Only a few months ago, the hotly tipped young star of "I Am Number Four" was being courted for every prospective young adult franchise in town, with "The Hunger Games," "The Seventh Son" and "The Mortal Instruments" all said to be courting the 21-year-old actor.
Whether it was Pettyfer turning them down, or his bad reputation making the filmmakers look elsewhere, Josh Hutcherson and Sam Clafin stepped into the first two, and now word's come in of three prospective candidates for the male lead in the latter, an adaptation of the popular young adult novel series by Cassandra Clare. The plot revolves around a girl (played by Lily Collins, who's also bagged the title role in "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White." Snow White, we mean, not the Grimms ) who falls in love with Jace, a hunter of invisible demons -- the role that backers Screen Gems are currently hunting an actor for.
The Wrap report that three young actors all tested opposite Collins on the Sony lot on Friday. The best known is Jamie Campbell-Bower, who since debuting in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd" has racked up some serious franchise experience, both as nasty vampire Caius in the "Twilight" franchise and as evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." He's also the co-lead in Roland Emmerich's ridiculous-looking "Anonymous," playing the younger version of Rhys Ifans' character and currently plays King Arthur in the Starz series "Camelot," alongside Eva Green and Joseph Fiennes. So he's not doing too badly, although this would certainly be his highest-profile role to date.
Ed Speleers, meanwhile, is another contender who's worked in would-be franchise territory before: at 16, he was the lead in Fox's almost-inconceivably awful "Eragon," which the studio hoped would turn into a franchise to mirror Harry Potter and "Lord of the Rings." The film tanked, and Speleers hasn't worked much since, but this could serve as something of a comeback. Finally, model (and, it would seem, 'death metal drummer') Leebo Freeman, a first-time actor, brings up the pack.
They're all about the same age and look as Pettyfer, so a specific idea is clearly being chased here. Whoever lands the gig (and we should find out fairly soon), we're not expecting much from this one: Scott Stewart, director of the abysmal "Legion" and "Priest," is at the helm. At least he's letting Paul Bettany sit this one out, eh?