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Jonathan Levine To Direct Young Adult Sci-Fi 'Legend' From 'Twilight' Producers

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 12, 2011 at 12:16PM

Studio executives must have been over the moon when the first "Twilight" went massive at the box office. Not only where there was a new teen franchise, but, with a vampire as a protagonist, it was a theoretically endless one, vampires being, as everyone knows, immortal. But unfortunately for them, Stephanie Myers was inconsiderate enough to only write four books in the series (even more inconsiderately, the last one, once again, involves A WEREWOLF FALLING IN LOVE WITH A BABY), and so after next year's "Breaking Dawn Pt. 2," the franchise will come to an end, and the hunt has been on for some time for a replacement behemoth fantastical romance-infused young adult series.
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Studio executives must have been over the moon when the first "Twilight" went massive at the box office. Not only where there was a new teen franchise, but, with a vampire as a protagonist, it was a theoretically endless one, vampires being, as everyone knows, immortal. But unfortunately for them, Stephanie Myers was inconsiderate enough to only write four books in the series (even more inconsiderately, the last one, once again, involves A WEREWOLF FALLING IN LOVE WITH A BABY), and so after next year's "Breaking Dawn Pt. 2," the franchise will come to an end, and the hunt has been on for some time for a replacement behemoth fantastical romance-infused young adult series.

We've already had "Twilight" with aliens ("I Am Number Four"), fairy tale "Twilight" ("Red Riding Hood") and "Twilight" with a guy with shit all over his face ("Beastly"), and the next few years have got "Twilight" with medieval witches ("The Seventh Son"), "Twilight" where man is the most dangerous game ("Hunger Games"), "Twilight" with demons ("Mortal Instruments"), "Twilight" with space travellers ("Earthseed") and "Twilight in a futuristic-prison-or-something ("Incarceron") lining up for that tricky tween dollar, and now the producers of the original Edward-and-Bella series have set their sights on their own potential replacement, and they've just landed a director.

Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who had success with the "Twilight" series, and whose latest picture "Everything Must Go" opens tomorrow, optioned an unpublished trilogy of novels entitled "Legend," from first time writer Marie Lu, back in February, and had set them up at hungry-for-teen-success-or-indeed-success-of-any-kind studio CBS Films. Now, Vulture report that the pair have selected their director, in the form of "The Wackness" helmer Jonathan Levine.

Levine's first film, the 2006 slasher deconstruction "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane," remains unreleased in the U.S, tangled up over rights issues, but we enjoyed his follow-up, hip-hop coming of age tale "The Wackness" a good deal, and the advance word on his third picture, the Seth Rogen/Joseph Gordon-Levitt cancer comedy "50/50," is positively glowing. He's also getting some experience in the teen fantasy romance genre, as he's currently prepping the "Twilight" with zombies film "Warm Bodies" for Summit, which will get underway once star Nicholas Hoult finishes up on Bryan Singer's "Jack The Giant Killer."

As for "Legend," it's like emo-angst set in an post-apocalyptic United States. Here's the synopsis.

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history ....

Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake sector, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in the wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Five'll get you ten that June and Day fall in love. It sounds not unlike "Hunger Games" in its futuristic dystopia, albeit without the "Battle Royale" vibe to go with it. With "Warm Bodies" still a few months from shooting, it's unlikely that "Legend" will go before cameras for at least another year with Levine at the helm, so we won't see it until the end of 2013 at the very earliest.

This article is related to: Films, Jonathan Levine, Legend


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