Matthew McConaughey Eyes HBO Return After ‘True Detective’ with ‘A Time to Kill’ Sequel Series

"A Time for Mercy" will see McConaughey revisit the John Grisham character Jake Brigance in a series for HBO.
Matthew McConaughey A Time to Kill
Matthew McConaughey in "A Time to Kill"
Everett Collection

Matthew McConaughey is attached to star in a series for HBO based on “A Time for Mercy,” John Grisham’s follow-up to “A Time to Kill” (via Variety). The 1996 film version of “A Time to Kill” starred the young McConaughey as attorney Jake Brigance, the main character in the Grisham trilogy that includes bestsellers “A Time to Kill” (1989), “Sycamore Row” (2013), and the most recent “A Time for Mercy” (2020). Directed by Joel Shumacher from a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, “A Time to Kill” was a career shift for McConaughey, who starred in his first leading dramatic role opposite Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson.

The film follows Brigance (McConaughey) as he defends a Black man (Jackson) accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter. In sequel “A Time for Mercy,” Brigance is forced to defend the boy who murdered his mother’s boyfriend, a deputy sheriff, because the boy claims the man was abusive towards his family. The case pits Brigance against local law enforcement as well as his community.

The project is still in early stages of development at HBO, with no writer yet attached. “Transformers” producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is attached as an executive producer, working with Warner Bros. Television.

HBO’s previous collaboration with McConaughey was very fruitful, with the actor starring in the first season of “True Detective.” A hit with audiences and critics alike, the Nic Pizzolatto series earned HBO five Emmy nominations, as well as a directing win for Cary Fukunaga, over its three distinct seasons. Until recently, McConaughey was set to reunite with Pizzolatto for a series at FX, but that project is no longer moving forward.

“A Time to Kill” was Grisham’s debut novel, launching a literary career that has led to 300 million copies sold, 28 consecutive number one bestsellers, and nine feature film adaptations. His first foray into Hollywood was the 1993 Tom Cruise starrer “The Firm,” which earned two Oscar nominations and was a box-office hit. That quickly led to a boom in Grisham movies throughout the 1990s, including “The Pelican Brief” with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, and “The Client,” starring Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones.

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