For years, now, I’ve been waiting for Elizabeth Banks to get another solid, leading role lined up. While she’s definitely not someone who we look at and think “where did it go wrong?,” you still have to remember the lineup she’s accrued over three years or so: The Uninvited, Surrogates, The Next Three Days, Our Idiot Brother, and Man on a Ledge. Unless you want to count a tiny role in The Hunger Games, her recent film career has been something of a mess.

So, with all that being said, this news should leave you pleased. Variety informs us that she, director Daniel Minahan (Game of Thrones), and writer Alan Ball are ready to collaborate on What’s the Matter with Margie?, a dark comedy that revolves around “a downtrodden office-worker (Banks) who finally snaps and resorts to murder as a solution to her problems.”

A pretty basic logline to go on, but those screenwriting and acting credits — along with the promise of something on the riskier side — will count for something. Anthony Bregman (Eternal Sunshine, Synecdoche, New York) and Ball are producing; shooting starts in early 2013.

Variety also has some news on the all-important, forever-busy Nicholas Sparks front. In this regard, it’s said that Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages) is the top contender for Safe Haven, a pending, Lasse Hallström-directed film that’s already signed Josh Duhamel for a leading role.

Her part, once intended for Keira Knightley, would give the actress an opportunity to play Katie Feldman, a woman who mysteriously enters Southport, North Carolina, and strikes up a romance with two separate men — Alex, the widowed father of two, and Jo, her straight-laced neighbor. You don’t need the rest of Safe Haven‘s plot summarized to know if this will interest you.

Shooting on the film will commence in the very near future, with a release date of February 8th, 2013 having already been set.

Is Margie a good choice for Banks? What about Haven and Hough?

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