Update: Theron has been confirmed. You can read the original story below.

Gillian Flynn, you got your books in our movies. The popular mystery fiction author has been getting Hollywood’s attention over the past year — most notably (and most recently), the creative interest of David Fincher and Reese Witherspoon — and, with this being a pretty recent thing, I wouldn’t expect that level of investment to dissipate (much less slow down) anytime soon. In today’s system, that can be a warning sign of continuously bad product (Stephenie Meyer, Fifty Shades), but that she’s said to have some genuinely good work on her hands makes this all relatively okay. (I guess that’s more than should be expected, too.)

Also in development is Dark Places, the previously-announced adaptation which, in May, had landed both Sarah’s Key director Gilles Paquet-Brenner and the general interest of Amy Adams. Cut to almost nine months later, and things have changed in one major capacity, with Deadline reporting that Charlize Theron is the new favorite to star; no deal is actually cut, mind you, but things are being eyed on either side of the aisle, with the actress’s Denver & Delilah expected to produce. Something would also need to be settled soon, given plans to start production next month, so this shouldn’t remain dormant long.

For an idea of the plot, you can read a synopsis of Dark Places below (via Amazon):

“Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in ‘The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.’ As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.”

As much as I hate to throw this in at the end, there is bad news — and news which could overshadow any positives that come with this: if Paquet-Brenner sticks with his March start schedule, and so long as Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die is still aiming to commence in May, the meant-to-start-right-between-that Inherent Vice may not end up on Theron‘s schedule, no matter what other reports had us thinking. It’s not the end of the world, and kind of a bummer in its own way, but a great performance in Dark Places — a prospect the book doesn’t make seem impossible, nor a hard-to-imagine thing from her — is, needless to say, better than her not working at all.

Is Theron a wise choice to lead Dark Places?

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