Tom Welling has landed a lead in The Choice, the Ross Katz-directed adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel from a script by Bryan Sipe for Lionsgate. Benjamin Walker plays Travis Parker and Teresa Palmer plays Gabby Holland. Neighbors in a small coastal town, they end up pursuing a relationship neither expected. Welling plays a doctor at his father’s practice who is Gabby’s boyfriend. The triangle plays out over the course of a decade in North Carolina. Tom Wilkinson also stars.

Sparks and Theresa Park are partnering with Peter Safran to produce and finance the film, the first independent feature from Nicholas Sparks Productions. Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions, and Eda Kowan, EVP acquisitions and co-productions, will oversee the project for the studio. Good Universe is handling international sales for the film.

WME reps the former Smallville star, who was most recently seen opposite Kevin Costner in Draft Day.