‘Endless Love’ Finds Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

It looks like love for Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde.

Universal Pictures has had a remake of the 1981 teen romance "Endless Love" in development for months, and on Thursday it was revealed that the studio has tapped Pettyfer and Wilde to play the story's star-crossed lovers.

British hunk Pettyfer was expected by many to become a major star on the basis of two high-profile teen-centric projects in 2011, "I Am Number Four" and "Beastly." But both movies proved to be box office disappointments, and "Endless Love" should give him another change to show he can click with audiences while showing off his polished good looks.

Blonde beauty Wilde, like Pettyfer, is British, and first came to the attention of American audiences in Paul W.S. Anderson's 2011's reboot of "The Three Musketeers." She already has two pictures due for release in 2013: "Carrie" (another highly-anticipated teen-movie reboot, with Wilde playing Sue Snell, the nice girl played by Amy Irving in the 1976 version), and "Squatters" (in which she plays half of a young couple who take resident in a wealthy family's home without permission).

While the attractive young couple has been cast, there's no word yet on who will play the parents, teachers, and other assorted grown-ups who make their lives difficult. It's been rumored that Universal intends to cast well-known veteran players as the adults in the piece, giving relative newcomers a chance to shine in the leads.

Universal's announcement ends what was reportedly a rigorous casting process for the female lead, a part that helped establish Brooke Shields as a box office draw in the 1980s. Sarah Bolger, Olivia Cooke, and Lily Collins were all in talks for the role, and while the field was narrower for the male lead, Australian actor Brenton Thwaites supposedly read with most of the candidates, making him the frontrunner before Pettyfer came into the picture.

Shana Feste, whose previous credits include "The Greatest" and "Country Strong," will be directing the "Endless Love" remake, and she's reportedly writing a new draft of the screenplay, originally written by Josh Safran from Scott Spencer's novel.

While the casting news is certainly exciting stuff for Pettyfer and Wilde, they might want to keep Franco Zeffirelli's 1981 version in mind - while it gave a serious boost to Brooke Shields' career, the fact that the name Martin Hewitt probably doesn't ring a bell indicates just how much it did for her co-star.