John Grisham’s racially-singed 1989 debut novel, A Time To Kill, which was later made into a movie in 1996, is officially heading to Broadway this fall, 2 years later after it was first rumored to be coming.
D.C.-based Arena Stage premiered the staged version of the novel earlier in 2011, to mixed reviews.
Surprisingly, it’s the first Grisham book adapted for the stage.
The 1996 movie starred Samuel L Jackson as a black father whose daughter is raped and killed by 2 white men in Mississippi, and who seeks revenge by shooting and killing both men, prompting his arrest and trial for murder. He’s represented by 2 white lawyers (one’s a law student with the ACLU), played by Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock. You know the rest… if not, look it up; or just watch the movie if you haven’t.
I actually haven’t seen it since I saw it in the theatre when it was released in 1996, when I wasn’t all into cinema; and I remember liking it at the time. Maybe I’ll give it another look and see how I respond to it 17 years later. Something tells me I won’t be as kind, but who knows.
But it’s now officially heading to Broadway, the play’s producers, Daryl Roth and Eva Price, announced, at a reported cost of $3.6 million.
The play will begin preview performances on September 28 at the Golden Theater and open on October 20.
It will be directed by Ethan McSweeny (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man).
As for casting… in 2011, the rumor was that Justin Timberlake had been “approached” to play legal eagle Jake Brigance (played in the film by Matthew McConaughey in the film). I’d be shocked if that rumor becomes a reality. But ya never know.
Can you say “Tony-Award nominee Justin Timberlake?” How well does that roll off your tongue, or would you rather bite it than speak those words, or even think them?
Sorry to all you Timberlake fans…
But, can’t knock the brotha’s… uh I mean, can’t knock the white boy’s hustle… or is it white boy’s shuffle.
But I’m sure the question that will be on your minds is: who play Carl Lee – the character Samuel L. Jackson played in the film?
Dion Graham, who most may remember as State’s Attorney Rupert Bond in The Wire, played the part while the show ran at Arena Stage in D.C. Might he be given the opportunity to do so on Broadway? I dunno… But given the way Broadway casting has gone recently, I expect they’ll be going for a bigger “name.” Feel free to throw a few around in the comments section.
Here’s its trailer as a reminder: