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'Dark Places' preview: Charlize Theron on playing the 'complicated' Libby Day

Gone Girl isn’t the only Gillian Flynn novel headed to the big screen. A film based on Flynn’s 2009 thriller Dark Places also promises to deliver some creepy surprises. Charlize Theron stars as Libby Day, the traumatized survivor of the brutal murder of her mom and sisters who teams up with a band of murder-obsessed amateur sleuths (self-dubbed the Kill Club) to uncover unsettling secrets about her family.

In her career, Theron has played a murderous prostitute and a narcissistic young-adult author, yet playing a woman as emotionally removed as Libby still posed a challenge. “I like complicated characters,” she says. “And there’s something about Libby — she doesn’t make it easy.”

And Theron didn’t make the role easy on herself. She spent much of a summertime shoot in Louisiana wearing a leather jacket. “Not the smartest!” she jokes. But Flynn, a former writer for EW, gives Theron total props for her transformation as Libby. “She’s mind-bogglingly beautiful in her natural state, and to watch her assume the posture of Libby was really spectacular,” says Flynn.

Flynn even had the opportunity to share a scene with Theron in a brief cameo. “In my cameo, she and I exchange a little glance,” says Flynn. “I’m pretty sure she gave me respect for my acting chops — the look you’ll see in the film is, ‘Wow, Flynn. You’re pretty awesome.’” She’s quick to add, “Not really!”

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Casting Net: Bobby Cannavale heads to 'Annie'; Plus, Patton Oswalt, Rodrigo Santoro, more

Fresh off a memorable turn as Sally Hawkins’ sensitive mechanic boyfriend in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, Bobby Cannavale is set to try out the world of big-screen musicals in Annie, in which he’ll star alongside Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, and Rose Byrne. He’ll play a political strategist who is helping Jamie Foxx‘s Benjamin Stacks run for mayor. Easy A director Will Gluck is taking another pass at the script before he begins shooting. The Emmy-winning actor (for Will & Grace) can also be seen in Lovelace; Jon Favreau’s Chef, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr.; and the upcoming Al Pacino movie Imagine. [Deadline]
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Casting Net: Paul Reiser cast as Miles Teller's father; Plus, Ed Westwick as a vampire?, Kaley Cuoco, more

• After being subjected to an absentee father in the form of Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now, there’s a new dad in Miles Teller‘s life.  Paul Reiser has signed on to writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, the feature version of his Sundance-winning short, which is expected to begin shooting in the next few weeks. The Aliens actor recently appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra and is currently filming the comedy Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, and Dane DeHaan. [THR]

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Casting Net: Zoe Saldana in talks for 'Guardians of the Galaxy'; Plus, Brad Pitt, Nicholas Hoult, Leighton Meester, more

 It’s looking like Zoe Saldana will join another intergalactic franchise. The Avatar and Star Trek actress is in talks to play the female lead in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She would join a cast that already features Chris Pratt (Zero Dark Thirty) and mixed martial artist Dave Bautista. Saldana is in negotiations to play Gamora, who, in the comic books, is the sole survivor of her humanoid race, the Zen Whoberi. She’s known as “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy.” Also of note: Gamora has a stint in the comic books as a minion and adopted daughter of sorts of Thanos — that purple-skinned alien which the closing credits of The Avengers seemed to set up as our heroes’ next arch-rival. Perhaps this is further reason to hope for some more franchise cross-overs in Marvel’s future? [THR] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Chloe Moretz in talks for 'Dark Places'; Plus, Jennifer Garner, Selena Gomez, more

• Chloë Moretz just can’t stay away from the macabre. The Kick-Ass 2 star is currently in talks to join the adaptation of (former EW writer) Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. In the novel, Libby Day (who will be played by Charlize Theron) revisits the gruesome reality of her youth (at 7, she testified against her 15-year-old brother Ben for the murder of their mother) 25 years later. Alternating between flashbacks to the time when the murder and conviction took place and the present, Moretz would play the character of Diondra Wertzner — Ben’s girlfriend in the flashbacks. Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key) is set to direct. [Deadline]

Jennifer Garner is in talks to join Kevin Costner in Ivan Reitman’s football dramedy Draft Day. Garner would play the secretary to Costner’s team manager who is having a hard time securing his number one draft pick. Garner’s next film, Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaughey, is currently in post-production and should be released sometime this year. [Variety]

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