McCarthy’s The Road is a relentlessly bleak read like pretty much everything else he’s written, which means John Hilcoat is both a perfect and wrongheaded choice for director. In a way, Hilcoat’s The Proposition was an ideal, rigorously one-note warm-up for the misery of The Road. Not only does he possess a vivid, diseased imagination, he also knows how to wrangle flies. The guy gets death. And there’s no shortage of that shit in The Road.

But I’ve already read The Road. And, as someone looking for a reason to subject myself to that narrative again, I am dreading Hilcoat’s interpretation. That said, if I were an actor looking for an Academy Award nomination, I’d jump all over this project like it was a bouncy castle of bereavement. Misery wears well with AMPAS voters (see Kidman, Nicole in The Hours).

So it’s not a huge shock to learn that Academy Award winner Charlize Theron has decided to take a flashback-only role in The Road. It’s a small commitment schedule-wise, but the anguished emotion of the piece will give her an inside track to a nomination, especially since most of her scenes will be opposite Viggo Mortensen. If I recall correctly, this is why Luke Wilson turned up in 3:10 to Yuma. And, my, how he reinvented his career!

Playwright Joe Penhall adapted McCarthy’s novel. The film will begin shooting in February.