EXCLUSIVE: Writing team Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse have closed a deal to rewrite The Gray Man, based on the novel by Mark Greaney, at Sony. Christopher McQuarrie is attached to direct with Charlize Theron attached to star. Theron’s Denver and Delilah label is also aboard as producers alongside Joe Roth. The project is believed to be a priority for the studio, which is looking at a start of production in the first half of 2016. The script was previously written by Joe and Anthony Russo, who were at one time attached as directors before they got busy with Captain America: Civil War and the next two installments of The Avengers. The project, which at one point had Brad Pitt attached to star, has undergone a gender swap to allow for Theron to be involved. The thriller focuses on an expert CIA op-turned-assassin who is forced to evade adversaries as she saves the lives of daughters she didn’t know were still alive.
Shrapnel and Waterhouse are much in demand, having just finished adapting Circle Of Treason, based on a book by CIA agents Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille about their pursuit of fellow CIA agent and traitor Aldrich Ames. The duo have also just adapted Rhidian Brook’s The Aftermath for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and BBC Films. That book, which earned critical raves, is set in post-World War 2 Hamburg in 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city, Colonel Lewis Morgan has requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife Rachael and only remaining son Edmund. But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatised daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together, setting up a charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
The duo’s Race, directed by Stephen Hopkins and starring Jason Sudekis, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, and Stephan James playing Jesse Owens, comes out worldwide from Focus Features on February 19th. The film follows Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history at he 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.
Shrapnel and Waterhouse are repped by CAA, Grandview, and The Curtis Brown Group.