Zac Efron will star in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, stepping into a role that Shia LaBeouf was once attached to.

We reported back in April that Shia LaBeouf would star in the drama, with Dante Ariola directing. Not only has Shia LaBeouf departed the project, but Dante Ariola has backed out as well. Mandate Pictures is currently seeking directors for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.

Matt Drake wrote the script, which was featured on The Black List in 2007. The story centers on a young man who decides to travel throughout Europe after his mother passes away. He meets the girl of his dreams, later learning that she belongs to a maniacal mob boss. Charlie endures a number of beatings, refusing to give up on the girl as he tries to get her out of the mob life.

Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa are producing along with Dean Parisot and William Horberg. Nathan Kahane will executive produce for Mandate Pictures.

The filmmakers hope to get production started sometime later this year.