Former Entertainment Weekly television critic turned bestselling thriller writer Gillian Flynn has sold the rights to her latest book, Gone Girl, to 20th Century Fox and Reese Witherspoon's production company. The deal reportedly reached seven figures, according to Deadline's Mike Fleming. Flynn will write the script, which is good news. But the Witherspoon factor? Not so good.
Gone Girl is an unnerving, gorgeously written marital thriller that features one of the most compelling narrators in recent memory, its female protagonist Amy. She's complicated and mysterious and decidedly strange — none of which are adjectives we'd use to describe Reese Witherspoon, who is attached to star as well as produce. She's a fine actress and all, but the darkness of this material seems a bit out of her purview. Like her fellow Southern darling Matthew McConaughey, Witherspoon is in the process of reinventing herself as an actor — she's still got some romantic comedies on deck (including Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, ugh), but she's also doing some serious indies that she might not have done a few years ago. That kind of controlled career change is respectable and all, but we just don't think this is her part. The role needs someone more willowy and drawn, someone with secrets. Witherspoon, in contrast, is so open and bright. Even in her early grimmer days, in things like Freeway, she was a chipper little sparkplug, not a curious cipher. We'd be interested to hear what Flynn thinks about Witherspoon's involvement, because it strikes us as tonally off.
Anyway, go read Gone Girl. It's quite good. Now if you'll excuse us, we're gonna go try to figure out how to do this whole TV critic-turned-millionaire author thing.