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The Gray Man Almost Looked A Lot Different

The directing duo Joe Russo and Anthony Russo have shot to fame over the last decade with their work on both the "Captain America" films and the "Avengers" films. Initially working as directors for TV shows such as "Arrested Development," "Happy Endings," and "Community," the duo's latest film is titled "The Gray Man."

Produced and distributed by Netflix, the film sees the Russo brothers re-team with their "Captain America" lead Chris Evans. He is joined by a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, "Iron Fist" star Jessica Henwick, "Bridgerton" star Regé-Jean Page, "Narcos" star Wagner Moura, and Ana de Armas, who will also be seen later this year in Netflix's Marilyn Monroe biopic "Blonde."

"The Gray Man," which revolves around a CIA assassin who ends up as the target of a manhunt by the agency, has, however, been in development for over a decade, with news of the film initially coming about in 2011. Over the years, a number of stars have been attached to the film, and one such potential casting choice almost made "The Gray Man" look much different than it will when it drops on July 15, 2022.

Charlize Theron was in talks to star as one of The Gray Man's main characters

A-list star Charlize Theron was once considered for the lead role in "The Gray Man." Sony was in talks for Theron to star in the film in the wake of her work in the 2015 post-apocalyptic action film "Mad Max: Fury Road." Theron was poised to take on the role of the character who would ultimately become Court Gentry, played by Ryan Gosling (via Deadline).

Theron's casting would have required reconfiguration of the plot, however, as the movie's initial storyline revolved around an assassin attempting to save the lives of daughters whose existence they had only learned of when the girls were targeted by adversaries. The reworking, however, would not have been an issue, as the current iteration of the story has also scrapped that aspect, making Gentry the target of assassins on account of his uncovering of CIA secrets. An earlier version of the script also had the main character working to save the lives of his handler and their family.

Theron was in talks to replace Brad Pitt, who was initially tapped for the role, with filmmaker James Gray in the directing chair. Joe and Anthony Russo, who wrote the script, were also poised to direct at one point, though Gray and the Russo brothers had given up directorial duties by the time Theron was in talks. The Russo brothers ultimately ended up back in the directors' chair.

The film was initially with Sony before it went to market in the summer of 2020, getting picked up by Netflix (per Deadline). Theron also headlined a Netflix original film, "The Old Guard," in 2020, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kiki Layne.