‘The Wackness’ Director Jonathan Levine Tapped For Offbeat Zombie Movie, ‘Warm Bodies’

Jonathan Levine should be a bigger name by now. Unfortunately the filmmaker’s only theatrical release in the U.S., the Sundance-winning drama “The Wackness,” was underrated and under-seen. There’s also his teen slasher flick “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” which still hasn’t seen a U.S. release. Some people in Hollywood must appreciate him though, because his name is regularly in the trades attached to different projects in development. The latest of these gigs is adapting Isaac Marion’s self-published zombie romance novel “Warm Bodies,” which he will also direct, for Summit Entertainment.

The “Twilight” distributor seems an appropriate place for the adaptation, which The Hollywood Reporter acknowledges sounds like a cross between the popular vampire franchise and the British zombie comedy “Shaun of the Dead.” According to the tagline, “Warm Bodies” is about a zombie who befriends the human girlfriend of one of his victims. Apparently the relationship “transforms” him and his fellow undead, though what that transformation entails remains a mystery.

Summit likely recognizes that in spite of its success with the “Twilight” franchise, zombies are one of the other mythological creatures gaining heat in pop culture circles. Currently in development are of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Deadwood,” a 3-D remake of “Night of the Living Dead,” and a sequel to last fall’s “Zombieland.” And one day, we swear to god, we’ll finally see that long-awaited adaptation of “World War Z.”

As for Levine, he’s hopefully gaining not just heat but real, viable work. In addition to “Warm Bodies,” he was recently hired to direct the comedy formerly known as “I’m With Cancer,” starring Seth Rogen, James McAvoy and “Up in the Air” and “Twilight” star Anna Kendrick. The currently untitled film is sure to be his next given that it’s scheduled to start filming next month. He’s also attached to the “Adventures in Babysitting”-esque comedy “The Sitter,” so we might not see “Warm Bodies” for a while.

Are you also hoping Jonathan Levine’s career gets a boost already? Do you think a “Twilight” meets zombies movie is the way to go? Wouldn’t you eat brains if it meant a “World War Z” movie would get here sooner?