It’s interesting to watch how fortunes change. For a while, it looked like John Madden would never be able to match the critical and commercial acclaim of “Shakespeare In Love,” with a string of ill-received and underperforming films like “Proof,” “Killshot” and “The Debt.” Which brings us to 2012. Madden is back on top with “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” which has brought in over $110 million worldwide, so no surprise he’s now attached to a film with one of the hottest — literally and figuratively — actresses of the moment.
While at one time it had Kevin Macdonald attached, Madden will helm “Murder Mystery” with Theron set to co-star and co-produce the film penned by “Zodiac” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” writer James Vanderbilt. The comedy mystery follows an American couple on honeymoon in Europe who have to go on the run after witnessing and being accused of murder, and are drawn into a web of international intrigue. Said to be a deconstruction of the Agatha Christie whodunit, former producer A.J. Dix had described it “pure entertainment. It’s exciting, suspenseful and romantic.” We say former because the project, once set up at Disney, is now in the hands of Tower Hill with William Shively producing alongside Vanderbilt, Tripp Vinson, Beau Flynn and Endgame Entertainment’s James D. Stern.
No word yet on when it will roll, and Madden could be waiting a while. Theron is gearing up to shoot “Fury Road” next month and she’s slowly building up a slate of potential projects, including “Agent 13” with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” director Rupert Wyatt. But it will be nice to see Theron go back to pure comedy mode, something she hasn’t really done since “Arrested Development” (“Young Adult” kind of, we suppose) and this has a high enough concept to keep it interesting. At the very least, it can’t be worse than “The Tourist.” [THR]