By Nathan Kamal | Posted

Charlize Theron has spent her career ping-ponging between glossy prestige dramas and action-packed, CGI-heavy sci-fi movies. Sometimes that means she’ll be in highly respected characters like the Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody movie. young adult (in which she played a haunted misanthropic ghost writer) and sometimes that means she’ll be playing the latex-clad, kicking Æon Flux in the film. Aeon Stream. However, her next film could split the difference between the two, as she will play Jane Dick, the twin sister of legendary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Charlize Theron is teaming up with Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón for Joan, a film based on the life of Philip K. Dick. The film is made in collaboration with Isa Hackett, daughter of Philip K. Dick and frequent producer of works based on his writings, and is being developed by Amazon Prime Video. The most interesting aspect of Joan is that the titular character died six weeks after birth, which haunted Dick for the rest of his life and became a recurring theme in his stories. According to Hackett, Joan is a kind of anti-biopic, in which Charlize Theron plays a version of Jane who has lived to adulthood and seeks to protect her brother from real and imagined dangers. It’s a fascinating concept, one particularly suited to the work of Philip K. Dick more than any other science fiction writer.

While many of Charlize Theron’s forays into science fiction lean more toward action and space exploration (like Ridley Scott’s controversial 2012 film Prometheus), the works of Philip K. Dick tended to be more cerebral. Much of his work is about the nature of reality itself and the human mind’s inability to tell the difference between real and artificial, which makes the Charlize Theron-directed film Jane a perfect fit. His most famous adapted work is undoubtedly the 1982 film blade runner (also by Ridley Scott), based on his novel Do androids dream of electric sheep? The film differs from the original book in many ways, but both deal with the struggle to understand the difference between the “real” (in this case, human beings) and the “fake” (artificial replicants, but almost indistinguishable ). Apparently, Philip K. Dick was initially not enthusiastic about the adaptation, but fully in favor of its depiction of a future world after seeing the first footage of the film. Sadly, Dick died of a stroke just months before the film’s premiere.

Joan is still in development with Charlize Theron and Alfonso Cuarón and does not yet have a release date. Whereas blade runner and other movies like Minority report and Total recall have been hailed for their adaptations of the work of Philip K. Dick (Paycheck and The Adjustment Office, not so much), there has yet to be a definitive film based on the life of the author himself. With a bit of luck, Joan will be a film that honors Jane Dick and Philip K. Dick as people, and the themes and ideas that filled their life together.