Charlize Theron may not be a part of George Miller’s immediate Mad Max sequel, but the aura of her kingdom-shaking turn as Imperator Furiosa is still emanating across Hollywood. Case in point: Deadline reports that the actress has now topped the shortlist for Sony’s adaptation of The Gray Man, signalling that a gender swap could be on the cards.
Based on Mark Greaney’s thrilling novel series, The Gray Man orbits around a CIA operative-turned-assassin known as Court Gentry, who sets about evading mysterious forces in order to save the lives of the daughters – daughters who aren’t even aware of his own existence. Two years ago, when Sony originally picked up the rights to adapt, James Gray and Brad Pitt were attached to direct and star, though the project stalled before the cameras could begin rolling.
Shortly thereafter, Joe and Anthony Russo of Captain America: The Winter Soldier fame were drafted in to pen the script, with the pair’s latest contribution coming in 2014. According to Deadline, the Russo brothers had been eyed to direct the film, though commitments to Civil War and the grand, two-part Avengers: Infinity War put paid to that idea.
But Theron’s interest in the big-screen adaptation proves there’s still life in the old dog yet, and should the actress put pen to paper, we expect that Sony won’t leave The Gray Man lying around on the shelf much longer. Of course, the core concept of Greaney’s CIA drama will need to be reworked to accommodate a female protagonist, but we have every confidence that Theron’s involvement will attract an equally-appealing cast.
Besides, The Gray Man is by no means the first project to pull the old gender switcheroo. In 2010, Angelina Jolie took the reins of Salt in lieu of Tom Cruise, while Our Brand Is Crisis was originally written to feature a male lead prior to Sandra Bullock’s casting.