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Alex Pettyfer Ditches One Young-Adult Movie Franchise for Another

Talks between Screen Gems and reps for Alex Pettyfer have reached an impasse, and insiders familiar with the situation say the young Brit won’t be starring in the studio’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s best-selling young-adult books, The Mortal Instruments, after all. What happened? Insiders tell Vulture that Pettyfer has been offered the lead role in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s best-selling YA series The Last Apprentice (known to U.K. readers as The Wardstone Chronicles), about a teenage boy training to be an exorcist in the 1700s. The project is heating up fast, our spies say, with Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Lawrence possibly playing roles as well; Bridges is being offered the part of the exorcist to whom Pettyfer would be apprenticed, and Lawrence that of a suspected witch.

Meanwhile, a generous, multi-million-dollar offer to Pettyfer from Screen Gems remains on the table for Mortal Instruments. But even though he's a top choice of vocal Cassandra Clare fans to play the role of Jace, insiders now say a deal won’t be made: We’re told that as much as Pettyfer likes the Instruments series, he likes The Last Apprentice books even more. Perhaps it can be chalked up to fond childhood memories — a Brit like Delaney himself, Pettyfer is just 20, which means he’s old enough to have grown up with Delaney’s Spook’s books, which debuted when he was only 14 — but we hear he's mostly excited about working with visually inventive Russian director Sergey Bodrov, who directed 2005's Nomad and 2007's Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan.

Photo: Walt Disney Studios