The Oscar winner will also produce the picture, which will be written and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, who earned raves for the 2011 Holocaust drama "Sarah's Key."
The material is the polar opposite of light and fluffy. "Dark Places" centers on a woman whose family was massacred when she was still a small child. She testified against her brother in the subsequent murder trial, but is forced to confront her past when decades later a group of investigators try to convince her that he is innocent of the killings.
Theron has mined similarly dark terrain before to great effect. Her performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 film "Monster" earned her an Academy Award. She received another nomination for playing a sexual harassment victim in 2005's "North Country."
Theron had a very busy 2012, scoring scenery chewing villainous roles in "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Prometheus." She is currently filming "Mad Max: Fury Road" opposite Tom Hardy.
Exclusive Media’s Guy East and Nigel Sinclair will produce and fully finance the film alongside Theron’s production company Denver and Delilah Productions, with partners Beth Kono and AJ Dix, Stephane Marsil’s Hugo Productions, and Mandalay Vision’s Matthew Rhodes.