Culture

Lily Collins Lands Lead in 'Odd Thomas' opposite Anton Yelchin as Stormy Llewellyn

"Odd Thomas" has finally found an actress with the mettle and moral fortitude to play the force of nature that is Stormy LLewellyn. Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) beat out a field of contenders that included Emma Roberts, Kat Dennings, Portia Doubleday, and Addison Timlin for the female lead in director Stephen Sommers' adaptation of Dean Koontz's metaphysical thriller, Odd Thomas.

Sommers, best known for his high-octane special-effects spectacles like "The Mummy" and "GI Joe," approached the challenge of finding the right actress to play Stormy with the care and deliberation befitting such a pivotal role. It's been nearly a month since he tapped Anton Yelchin to play the titular prescient fry cook who receives regular tips from the dead about looming catastrophes, and Sommers took his time until he found the ingenue just right for the role of Odd's thoughtful, hard-knock girlfriend. (Incidentally, Sommers has a good track record in this area: His inspired the decision to cast a cerebral actress like Rachel Weisz against type in "The Mummy," which elevated that film into the realm of the almost watchable.)

Though Collins may have the shortest resume of any actress vying for the role, she has already established herself as someone capable of holding her own among experienced vets working on physically and emotionally demanding projects. She made her film debut just two years ago playing Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw's daughter in "The Blind Side." Since then, she's completed work on the dystopian man v. vampires thriller "Priest," opposite Paul Bettany and Christopher Plummer; she scored her first leading role alongside "Twilight" hunk Taylor Lautner in director John Singleton's  "Abduction," due out later this year; and, finally, the true sign that any actress has arrived: She's due to play Juliet in Italian filmmaker Carlo Carlei's upcoming adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

While both Yelchin and Collins make intuitive sense to play Odd and Stormy, the real x-factor in this creative equation is Sommers. We have not been particularly moved or impressed by anything he's done in the past decade, which he's pretty much dedicated to making pulpy popcorn extravaganzas like "The Scorpion King" and "Van Helsing." However, early on in his career, he did show an affinity for literary storytelling, with two Mark Twain adaptations: 1993's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" followed two years later by "Tom and Huck."

As far as we're concerned, Koontz's Odd series is sacred ground, so the most we can claim at this point is cautious skepticism, bordering on optimism. What are your thoughts on how this film is shaping up now that the lead actors have have been nailed down?