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Gillian Flynn on Charlize Theron’s ‘Dark Places’ Role: ‘She Got Into Libby’s Soul’

After the very popular “Serial” podcast encouraged conversations about the U.S. criminal justice system and the wrongfully accused, “Dark Places” scribe Gillian Flynn presented her second book-to-film premiere Tuesday night at Harmony Gold in Hollywood.

The bestselling novel circles around new details appearing 30 years after a mysterious family murder in a rural Kansas town in the 1980s.

“This story gives you an opportunity to re-examine people that are incarcerated or in prison or wrongfully accused, and hopefully what it does is encourage people to take one more look,” said producer Matt Rhodes.

The author, who was not the screenwriter on the project, said that she feels her readers will be satisfied with the adaptation. Before the rights were sold, Flynn had a sit-down with writer-director Gilles Paquet-Brenner, and determined that he had “the right idea” adapting the page-turner to film — by not turning the mystery novel into a cheesy horror movie.

“I had to make a lot of choices because it’s obviously a very dense book. The big challenge was to make it a two-hour movie,” he said. Other than that, Paquet-Brenner said his script was already written. “Of course we changed little things here and there, but it’s very faithful to the book.”

As for the casting, readers would easily notice that Charlize Theron does not physically resemble the five-foot redheaded book character, Libby Day. Flynn said that she was unconcerned with the physicality and that Theron was in fact the perfect choice.

“I wasn’t remotely concerned that Charlize didn’t look like Libby because she felt like Libby from the second that she got into Libby’s soul,” said Flynn. “I couldn’t care less that she didn’t have red hair.”

Also in attendance were Christina Hendricks and Shannon Kook. The screening was followed by a party at Chateau Marmont, sponsored by Apothic Wines and Svedka Vodka.

A24’s “Dark Places” opens in theaters Aug. 7, and is available on DirecTV now.

(Pictured: Christina Hendricks and Charlize Theron at the screening of “Dark Places”)

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