EXCLUSIVE: The EFM doesn’t start until Thursday, but the market is already percolating with a bevy of star-driven packages. While many folks are lamenting the time it takes to fortify deals, there’s nevertheless been a flurry of projects coming together with talent attached in just the past few days (Johnny Depp in Black Mass; Jeremy Renner in Kill The Messenger; Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins in Solace…). The latest one I’m hearing that’s driving strong interest is Dark Places, the adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel that had Amy Adams in talks back in May. Adams has since fallen out and I understand from myriad sources that Charlize Theron is orbiting the story of a woman who, at 7 years old, survived the brutal massacre of her family and testified against her brother as the murderer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club, a secret society obsessed with solving notorious crimes, brings her to question and confront the truth of what took place that day.
French sales outfit Kinology was initially lined up to handle international rights but is no longer involved and U.S. and European sales agents have been vying hard for the film. The latest I’ve heard is that it’s landed at Exclusive Media. Theron’s involvement is not locked, but there is interest on both sides and a deal would involve her producing through her Denver & Delilah with partner Beth Kono. The roughly $15M Dark Places, directed by French helmer Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key), has been eyeing a March start. Stéphane Marsil is also producing through Paris-based Hugo Productions.
Flynn’s books are uber-hot right now as the author comes off of a best-selling summer with Gone Girl. Rights to that thriller were acquired last July in a 7-figure deal by 20th Century Fox to be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Leslie Dixon. My colleague Mike Fleming recently reported that David Fincher is eyeing coming aboard to direct. Flynn’s previous novel, Sharp Objects, was optioned by Alliance with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing.