Warner Bros. is reportedly close to officially greenlighting The Seventh Son, an adaptation of the first novel in Joseph Delaney's The Wardstone Chronicles, entitled The Spook's Apprentice. The pic has already attracted the attention of two Oscar-nominated (and one winning) talents, in the forms of Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.
Now two young faces in the form of Sam Claflin and Alicia Vikander are in negotiations to headline The Seventh Son, filling the roles left vacant by previous contenders Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) and Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games).
Variety is reporting that Claflin and Vikander emerged as the favorites amongst the dozen or so young stars that tested for Seventh Son, which could be the first in a new young-people-training-in-the-magical-arts fantasy series from Warner Bros. in the post-Harry Potter era. The film seems more likely to achieve Percy Jackson levels of success than anything else, but the involvement of talents like Bridges and Moore should help in that regard.
Seventh Son takes place in an imaginative version of the 17th century English countryside, and revolves around Tom Ward (Claflin), the seventh son of a seventh son who is capable of detecting dark supernatural forces. Young Tom is trained in the arts of exorcism and warfare against evil spirits - boggarts, witches, and other sinister creatures - by Master Gregory (Bridges), a cloaked old man often referred to as "The Spook".
Moore will appear in Seventh Son as Mother Malkin, the world's most evil sorceress and a relative of Alice (Vikander), a young woman with her own supernatural abilities who befriends Tom.
Claflin will be more of a name after he appears in this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, essentially playing the "noble young man" role that Orlando Bloom occupied in the previous Pirates adventures. The character Tom Ward was 13-years-old in "Spook's Apprentice", but it seems Warner Bros. wants to appeal more to the young adult crowd by casting 24-year-old Claflin in the part - not to mention, allow for more romantic tension between him and Vikander onscreen.
Seventh Son is set to be directed by Sergei Bodrov, whose Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan is (in my opinion) a pretty entertaining historical epic that features one of the more impressive climactic cinematic battle sequences - complete with hundreds of actual extras on horseback. That makes me all the more curious to see the director's visual style and approach to this new fantasy adventure.
Previous reports indicated that The Seventh Son is already tentatively scheduled to begin production in Canada on September 13th, 2011. Assuming Warner Bros. officially greenlights the pic soon, expect to see it reach theaters in late 2012 or early 2013.