By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 11, 2011 at 9:20AM
"In Time" didn't quite provide the comeback that some were hoping for for writer/director Andrew Niccol, who penned "The Truman Show" and directed "Gattaca." Despite playing in the helmer's wheelhouse of big-idea sci-fi, the film was poorly received, more "S1mone" than "Lord of War," and a damp squib at the box office. Fortunately, Niccol already had his next film lined up, and it's something with an built-in fanbase that should make it a better bet, commercially at least.
The director's been attached for some time now to "The Host," an adaptation of the first novel for grown-ups by "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer, set in a world where alien souls are steadily taking over humanity, and following Mel, a rebel possessed by a soul named Wanderer, who finds herself living in duality with the extraterrestrial, and torn between two men, one in love with Mel, the other with Wanderer.
"Atonement" and "Hanna" star Saoirse Ronan was cast as Mel/Wanderer a while back, and Niccol's now gearing up for production, he's starting to fill in the other roles. Only yesterday, relative unknown Jake Abel, ("I Am Number Four," "The Lovely Bones") was positioned as the frontrunner for Ian, who falls for 'Wanda,' the possessed alien version of Mel, and now EW bring news that the Jacob to his Edward, the part of Jared, who loves the non-alien Mel (yeah, we're lost too), has now been filled, by rising star Max Irons.
Irons is the son of Oscar-winning British actor Jeremy Irons, but has been carving out a neat little career on his own back of late. he was one point of a similar love triangle in Catherine Hardwicke's "Red Riding Hood" earlier in the year, and also appeared earlier in the year in British TV drama "The Runaway." He beat out Liam Hemsworth, Kit Harington and for the role.
How Niccol ends up depicting the tricky internal mechanics of Meyer's story is anyone's guess, but he's not a bad hire for the gig, having shown a proclivity for thoughtful sci-fi in the past, even if "In Time" was a misstep. Between him and Ronan, we're certainly more interested in this than any of the "Twilight" films, although we'll maintain plenty of caution until we see more. Fledgling distributors Open Road will release "The Host" on March 29, 2013.