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First Image From ‘Mortal Instruments’ Arrives, Four Testing For Male Lead In ‘Divergent’ Opposite Shailene Woodley

First Image From 'Mortal Instruments' Arrives, Four Testing For Male Lead In 'Divergent' Opposite Shailene Woodley

With “Twilight” wrapping up its final installment this week, there’s clearly a certain amount of jostling to be the next big young adult franchise going on. “The Hunger Games” certainly has the early lead, but that franchise is already eyeing its 2015 endgame by hiring Francis Lawrence to direct the two-part finale, ‘Mockingjay,’ so the field is still fairly open. And there’s plenty on the way, with two of the contenders starting to show their wares or shape up their casts.

First up is “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” the first part of the adaptation of Cassandra Clare‘s best-selling novel series, starring Lily Collins as a seemingly ordinary girl drawn into the secret underground world of the Shadowhunters who protect humanity from demons, led by the charismatic Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower).

Lena Headey, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West, Kevin Zegers, Aidan Turner, CCH Pounder and Kevin Durand make up the rest of the cast of the project, directed by “The Karate Kid” helmer Harald Zwart, and the books’ fervent fanbase will be delighted to discover the first image of the film from EW, which features Collins wielding one of the runes that give the Shadowhunters their powers. From the looks of the picture, she’s using it to defend herself from a wind machine. The film hits on August 23rd, 2013, and we should be seeing a trailer before the end of the week, cannily tied to the release of “Twilight.”

Elsewhere, one of the books that’s been sweeping the best-seller charts of late is “Divergent,” by Veronica Roth, set in a dystopian future where people are divided into factions by their traits; honesty, intelligence, bravery, etc. The film adaptation is set up at “Twilight” home studio Summit, with “Limitless” helmer Neil Burger to direct, and it recently found a female lead in the shape of “The Descendants” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” star Shailene Woodley. And now the search is starting to narrow down for her male lead.

Deadline reports that four names were tested against the young actress yesterday. The most recognizable of the quartet is Lucas Till, who played one of the young mutants in “X-Men: First Class” last year. Joining him are a pair of Australian actors, Luke Bracey (“Home & Away,” “Monte Carlo“), Brenton Thwaites (“Blue Lagoon: The Awakening,” the upcoming “Maleficent“) and Irish actor Jack Reynor, who stars in the acclaimed upcoming “What Richard Did” and recently landed a big role opposite Vince Vaughn in “The Delivery Man.”

The plan is to shoot next March, but we’re not sure how that figures in with the February start for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” in which Woodley is set to play Mary-Jane Watson. Will they be getting her scenes out the way first? Is “Divergent” falling back, or will something have to give? Either way, we’ll likely hear which actor proved victorious in the coming days, and the film will be making its way to screens sometime in 2014.

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