Adaptation of the WWI novel finds its lead.

Only the day it was revealed that Rupert Wyatt (‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘The Escapist’) had selected the long-gesting period drama ‘Birdsong’ as his next directorial effort. Now word has emerged that the film found its lead, casting ‘Warm Bodies’ and ‘X-Men: First Class’ star Nicholas Hoult.

A big-screen adaptation of the Sebastian Faulk novel, ‘Birdsong’ is an intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic portrayal of three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. At the centre of the drama is Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman who strikes up a love affair with a married French woman and then enters the war.

The film will be produced by Alan Moloney (‘Albert Nobbs,’ ‘Haywire,’ ‘The Escapist’) with Wyatt directing from his own screenplay. Principal photography is expected to take place in Belgium and the U.K.

Commenting on Hoult’s casting, Wyatt said, “[Hoult’s] great weight, depth and range as a fearless young actor allow us to explore this timeless story of a boy broken by a tragic love affair and what it means for young men to experience the real horror of war.”