Fresh off his turn as a young Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men: First Class, Nicholas Hoult has a promising summer ahead of him, between his starring in Jack the Giant Killer (one of our 20 most anticipated 2012 titles) – and Warm Bodies, an adaptation of Isaac Marion’s popular supernatural horror/romance novel that is being written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).

You can get an early look at Hoult as the zombie “R” in the Warm Bodies images gallery above; continue reading on for larger versions and more information about the film (including, an official synopsis).

Here is the official lowdown on the plot setup for Warm Bodies:

Zombies love people, especially their brains. But R (Nicholas Hoult) is different. He’s alive inside, unlike the hundreds of other grunting, drooling undead—all victims of a recent plague that drove the remaining survivors into a heavily guarded city. Now the Zombies roam about an airport terminal, searching for human prey and living in fear of the vicious Boneys, the next undead incarnation.

One day, R and his best friend M lumber toward the city in search of food. There, R first sets his eyes on JULIE (Teresa Palmer), a beautiful human. Determined to save her—first from the other Zombies and then from the Boneys—R hides her in his home, a cluttered 747 aircraft. Julie is terrified, and R’s grunted assurances of “Not…eat” do little to calm her. But when R begins to act more human than Zombie, coming to her defense, refusing to eat human flesh, and even speaking in full sentences, Julie realizes that R is special.

As you probably picked up from reading all that, Warm Bodies is part Romeo and Juliet-meets-the-zombpocalypse – and, of course, the book/film both invite comparisons to the Twilight series for that reason. Heck, even Hoult’s makeup job and colorless complexion as R bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, as you may note while checking out the following pics of the actor in Warm Bodies:

All that said, Warm Bodies doesn’t violate traditional zombie mythos to the degree that Stephenie Meyer’s (in)famous young adult literature (and it cinematic counterparts) does with vampires; nor does it take place against a familiar everyday backdrop or involve regular teens like either the Twilight franchise or any of its obvious imitators (ex. I Am Number Four).

Warm Bodies also has the benefit of a cast that includes experienced veterans and up-and-comers alike, including Hoult, Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), John Malkovich (RED), Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine), Dave Franco (the upcoming 21 Jump Street) and Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love.).

Lastly – seeing how Levine was by and large successful at mixing cathartic laughs with serious drama involving a subject as volatile as cancer in 50/50, he seems as well-positioned as anyone to make an unorthodox love story about a young woman and an undead monster work onscreen.

We will see how it all pans out when Warm Bodies lumbers into theaters around the U.S. on August 10th, 2012.

Source: USA Today (via Collider)