These are busy times for Charlize Theron. Later this year we’ll get a look at the blonde beauty in arrested development when she headlines Young Adult, the latest collaboration between the Juno writing-and-directing team of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman. Next summer, Theron plays the evil Queen hunting Kristen Stewart’s battle-tested Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman. She also has a part in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller Prometheus. And now, Theron’s contemplating her next move.

It could be Cities of Refuge, a crime thriller that – according to Deadline – Theron is circling. Brandon Willer wrote the screenplay, which would cast Theron as a female investigator ordered to solve a vicious murder-kidnapping case. As surprising as this may seem to you, the further she investigates, the more she realizes that nothing is as it seems. I know. I’m shocked, as well.

Obviously Theron’s in the very early stages of negotiations for the project, and Deadline notes that she could come on board in a producer’s role if the deal happens. The Oscar winner has played law-enforcement agents before, most notably opposite Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah. And ever since winning her Oscar for Monster in 2003, Theron has effectively chosen roles that stretch her abilities. I’d like to know who’s guiding her through Refuge before I get too excited about it, but as Ben Affleck or David Fincher have taught us recently, gritty crime thrillers still pack plenty of punch, so long as the material’s treated properly by a director who appreciates the dark nuances of the genre. More on Cities of Refuge as the story develops.

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