Andrew Niccol’s latest philosophical sci-fi creation, In Time, has left most critics unimpressed and failed to light up the box office during its opening weekend. Nonetheless, there’s still good reason to be intrigued about the Gattaca and S1m0ne filmmaker’s next project: an adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling sci-fi/romance novel, The Host.
The Host cast already includes a great leading lady, in the form of Saoirse Ronan. Now the search is on for a pair of worthy young actors to fill two important roles – namely, the male romantic interests in the film.
In this tantalizing SF thriller, planet-hopping parasites are inserting their silvery centipede selves into human brains, curing cancer, eliminating war and turning Earth into paradise. But some people want Earth back, warts and all, especially Melanie Stryder, who refuses to surrender, even after being captured in Chicago and becoming a host for a soul called Wanderer. Melanie uses her surviving brain cells to persuade Wanderer to help search for her loved ones in the Arizona desert.
Ronan is (naturally) playing the 20-year-old Melanie, who yearns to be reunited with her older boyfriend, Jared Howe. The other main male part is that of Ian O’Shea, who at first attempts to kill Wanderer/Melanie, but eventually develops feelings for the extraterrestrial parasite. However, due to the complicated nature of her physical connection with Melanie, the alien being has to love Jared instead. A messy love quadrangle, to say the least…
Variety says that the candidates testing for the part of Jared include Jai Courtney (Spartacus: Blood and Sand), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Liam Hemsworth (next year’s The Hunger Games) and Max Irons (Red Riding Hood). Those trying out for the role of Ian include Jake Abel (the Percy Jackson movies), Dane DeHaan (True Blood), Tomas McDonnell (Prom), and Augustus Prew (Charlie St. Cloud).
Certain individuals on that Host actor’s shortlist arguably stand out above the others – especially the likes of Harington, Hemsworth, and DeHaan – though some of those short-listed individuals (see: Hemsworth, Irons) are also seemingly being typcast for most every “supportive young adult boyfriend” role right now.
All that aside: the prospect of a versatile and engaging performer like Ronan tackling the (quite literally) multi-dimensional character(s) of Melanie/Wanderer should be appealing enough to maintain the interest of many moviegoers in this project – regardless of which young actors eventually sign on to play the male leads.
However, those who are not already fans of The Host are bound to be less impressed by some of the narrative qualities and character archetypes it appears to share with Meyer’s love-it-or-hate-it Twilight series. Marketing for the Host movie probably won’t help matters, as the campaign will likely play up the soapy romantic aspects of the film (regardless of their actual prominence) in order to appeal more to the lucrative young adult demographic.
Niccol does not always successfully execute the thought-provoking sci-fi concepts he tackles in his films; however, when he does manage the task, the results can be quite memorable. So, hopefully, he’ll transform The Host into a movie that both entertains the masses and also really explores the mind-tickling ideas and concepts (ex. the nature of identity and emotional attachment) raised in Meyer’s literature.
The Host is scheduled to begin production in early 2012 and will arrive in theaters around the U.S. on March 29th, 2013.