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.
But it’s now officially heading to Broadway, the play’s producers, Daryl Roth and Eva Price, previously 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…
I learned today that John Douglas Thompson will star in the Broadway production playing the character originated by Samuel L. Jackson in the film, Carl Lee Hailey.
Black actors joining Thompson in the show in key roles are Chike Johnson as Ozzie Walls as Sheriff Ozzie Walls (played by Charles S. Dutton in the film), Tonya Pinkins as Gwen Hailey (played by Tonea Stewart in the film), and Tijuana Ricks as Court Reporter.
Rounding out the cast are Sebastian Arcelus as Jake Brigance (McConaughey’s character in the film), Ashley Williams as Ellen Roark (played by Sandra Bullock in the film), Fred Dalton Thompson as Judge Noose, Lee Sellars as Cobb/Rhodeheaver/Grist, Patrick Page as Rufus Buckley, and John Procaccino as Drew Tyndale/WT Bass.
I’ll leave the casting reactions to all you theater geeks reading this.
Tickets are now on sale to the general public by visiting Telecharge.com, by calling (212) 239-6200 or by going to www.ATimeToKillOnBroadway.com.
Here’s the trailer for the film as a reminder: