After having spent the last year partially stalled in development, a cinematic adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s New York Times best-selling, young adult, fantasy-adventure literature series, The Mortal Instruments, is making some serious progress.

Just over the past several weeks, the project has officially snagged a new director in Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid), been locked down to begin production later this summer – and now, has an official U.S. theatrical release date to boot.

We now know (via Box Office Mojo) that Sony has set The Mortal Instruments to hit theaters in the U.S. on August 23rd, 2013. That’s probably a wise move, as Clare’s source material is not the best-selling monstrosity that other young adult series-turned-blockbusters are (see: Twilight, The Hunger Games). Not to mention, neither of the film’s attached stars – Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) and Jamie Campbell Bower (Camelot) – are big enough names so as to make the film more bankable – and thus able to hold its own against some of the “big guns” that will grace the silver screen during the more competitive portion of next summer.

Mortal Instruments will be based on Clare’s book series, which, at the time of writing this, has four published installments (and two more on the way). The story is set in motion when fifteen-year-old New Yorker Clary Fray (Collins) witnesses a bizarre murder committed by a trio of teens decked out in strange tattoos (among other accessories) – one where the victim’s body vanishes into thin air. Shortly thereafter, Clary’s mother disappears and the young woman is introduced to the world of Shadowhunters: warriors that battle demons invisible to those who do not have “The Sight” – a power that Clary (inexplicably) suddenly possesses, setting in motion her destiny to become a defender of humankind.

Lily Collins will play Clary Fray in 'The Mortal Instruments'

Basically, The Mortal Instruments is a franchise that embodies many a familiar character and plot element to those featured in other popular, contemporary-set, young adult adventure series, be they fantasy (The Dark Is Rising) or a member of the sci-fi genre (I Am Number Four). Of course part of the reason Mortal Instruments has proven so popular is because Clare’s approach to re-imagining traditional monster mythology tropes – and offering a female twist on the stereotypical male hero archetype, in a fashion many have compared to that of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – is generally regarded as being quite clever.

So far, Mortal Instruments fans appear to be (by and large) optimistic about the film adaptation. The choice of Collins as Clary has gone over well enough, while the news that Zwart will handle helming duties – rather than previously-attached candidate Scott Charles Stewart (Priest) – has also gone over with relatively few complaints. Bower being cast as Shadowhunter “Jace” Wayland has caused some conflict, as many fans feel he isn’t a good fit to pull off the character’s mix of arrogance, charisma, and angelic looks. Of course, we’ll see if they change their song (or not) upon seeing some actual footage of Bower in the role.

Principal photography on The Mortal Instruments is scheduled to start this summer on August 15th in Toronto.

Source: Box Office Mojo