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Charlize Theron Lands Assassin Role Vacated By Brad Pitt

Back in 2013, Brad Pitt dropped out of James Gray's espionage thriller The Gray Man, after two years of development. It looked like that film was doomed to development hell, but recent developments have stoked the fires – as Charlize Theron has been named as the new lead for the long dormant film.

Deadline picked up the scoop that Theron is in talks with the folks at Sony Pictures to take the lead role that Brad Pitt vacated when he left the project. Of course, there's one small problem: the film was originally written to follow the story of a ex-CIA operative who goes on the run to save two daughters he never knew existed. Naturally, script doctoring will be required, and it's not an impossible feat – considering it's been done before, and under the same roof too.

The last time something like this was an issue was when Tom Cruise dropped out of "Edwin A. Salt," only for the project to morph into the Angelina Jolie vehicle Salt back in 2010. With a global gross of $293.5 million, against a budget of $110 million, Sony turned that scenario from lemons into lemonade. The studio could use another fixer-upper Cinderella story to the tune of Salt's success, and to land Charlize Theron in the film that will soon change its name from The Gray Man would be a good indicator that lighting could strike twice.

As for Theron, it's hard not to think that the success of Mad Max: Fury Road has lit her star on fire. While her career certainly wasn't in a slump, Charlize Theron is definitely benefiting from her take no prisoners role as Furiosa in George Miller's summer hit. Since she's not returning to the Mad Max series anytime soon, her schedule is definitely open for a project like The Gray Man. Should the film do well enough, it wouldn't be a surprise if the further installments of Mark Greaney's series are quickly optioned to cash in on The Gray Man's potential success.

Of course, should future films be on the table, the next big question will be if Joe and Anthony Russo will be able to return to the world of The Gray Man, as they wrote the script for the first film back when the project was being developed for Brad Pitt. With Captain America: Civil War and The Avengers: Infinity War Parts I and II in their immediate future, there could be a possibility that they'll be able to do some punch up work on their previous draft in the interim. Though for now, we'll assume that a new writer will be brought on to revamp the project.

The Gray Man is currently in development, without a solid release date. As soon as any new information comes into play, we'll push it your way as soon as possible.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.