Life just keeps getter better (or busier) for Nicholas Hoult, who will grace the silver screen this summer as a young Beast in X-Men: First Class. He’s also now been cast to star in Summit Entertainment’s latest supernatural romance literary adaptation (there’s a mouthful), titled Warm Bodies.

Last month, Hoult landed the lead role in Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer, which is about to begin production overseas in London. Once he’s finished on that “re-fashioned” fairy tale pic, Hoult will go to work on Warm Bodies under the direction of Jonathan Levine (The Wackness).

Variety says that Warm Bodies was originally written and self-published online by Isaac Marion before it was picked up by Atria Books and became a bestseller in its own right. The plot essentially boils down to Romeo and Juliet, set against the backdrop of the zombpocalypse, and involving an unexpected romance between a self-loathing zombie (Hoult) and the girlfriend of one of his victims. Talk about awkward…

Levine penned the script for Warm Bodies as well, and his dramedy 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt arrives in theaters this September. The filmmaker gave his own spin on the basic coming of age story formula with The Wackness, which also revolved around an ungainly young man who starts an awkward romance – albeit, with his therapist’s stepdaughter. At least that scenario never required the, er, inevitable “I’m sorry that I ate your boyfriend” conversation to happen.

Warm Bodies is actually a very sincere love story that involves two people whose affection for one another is complicated by factors that cannot be controlled – namely, that one of them is undead and predisposed to eating the flesh of the living. Marion’s original novel is generally well-regarded by professional writers and casual readers alike. If you check out the book’s Amazon page, you’ll even find a quote from Simon Pegg, calling it “a mesmerizing evolution of a classic contemporary myth” – and hey, if it’s good enough for Shaun of the Dead himself, it’s good enough for everyone else, right? Moving on…

This could certainly be one of the more unusual upcoming flicks that involves zombies, as it isn’t meant to be either a darkly comical bloody romp (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), or a mixing of sci-fi and horror genre elements, a la Zombies Vs. Robots. There’s also the seemingly stuck-in-development-limbo adaptation of Breathers, but that’s more of a satire than straight romance.

If anything, Warm Bodies sounds like a twist on The Time Traveler’s Wife – here, with the male lead being a monster, and not just a fellow prone to sporadically violating the time-space continuum. That Time Traveler’s Wife author Audrey Niffenegger is also on the record as loving Warm Bodies only seems to lend further support to that idea.

Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’.

With a charismatic up-and-comer like Hoult in the lead and some decent source material behind it, Warm Bodies could be one tale of “supernatural (boy) creature meets girl” that’s actually pretty good. Keep an eye out for the female lead to be cast relatively soon as well, since production is slated to begin this summer.

Source: Variety