Andrew Niccol is set to both write and direct the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, with Saoirse Ronan to play the lead character, THR reports. Meyer’s original novel was published in 2008, and she’s spoken of developing it into a trilogy, so if Niccol’s film does well (and with the success of Twilight, it’s got something of a guaranteed fandom already), we could well see Ronan in a major film franchise like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

The film is set in a world where an alien race, the Souls, have taken the Earth and erased the minds of the people they occupy. The Host will see Ronan cast as Melanie Stryder, a human fused with an alien ‘soul’, Wanderer, who is unable to fully take over Melanie’s body.

Niccol, who has already written the script, is no stranger to the creation of new worlds. He wrote and directed Gattaca, one of my all-time favourite sci-fi films, so creatively bringing to life that futuristic world as to make it feel real. He also penned The Truman Show, which of course is not set in a far-off world, but rather created a world within the world of the film. And he is currently working on a sci-fi thriller, Now, in which the ageing gene has been switched off, due out on 4th November this year. His experience seems to fit The Host perfectly, and though there will undoubtedly be high expectations given the success of the Twilight adaptations (the last two parts of which are due out at the end of this year and next), I fully anticipate Niccol rising to the challenge.

In much the same way, Ronan looks to be an excellent casting choice for the role of Mel. At just 17 years of age, she has already had major roles in Atonement, The Lovely Bones, and Hanna, which is in cinemas now, which have earned her a Golden Globe nomination, two BAFTA nominations, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

With Breaking Dawn: Part I due out on 18th November this year, and Part II due out in November next year, we could see this Meyer adaptation fall somewhere in between the two. According to Inferno Entertainment’s president of international sales, Kimberly Fox,

“We literally began sales this week, and the response from the international community and from domestic buyers has been beyond our highest expectations.”

Given the first three Twilight films have grossed more than $1.7 billion, off a combined budget of $155 million, it’s not surprising that there’s been a big response already to the upcoming project, especially if you factor into the equation Meyer’s hopes to continue the novel into a trilogy. Like Twilight, The Host has an element of romance to it, so we can expect to see the next Robert Pattinson cast opposite Ronan before long.