Preview by: Jack Foley
THERE was a time when John Grisham-inspired movies were two-a-penny,
with virtually every book being transformed into a film.
There were good ones, such as The Firm, or A Time To Kill, but
there were also bad ones, such as The Chamber, which really failed
to register at the Box Office.
But one thing seems to have been consistent - they pull in the
big name stars. We've had Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman,
Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Spacey, to name but a few.
Well, the latest Grisham page-turner to hit the Big Screen is
The Runaway Jury, a book based around a monstrous legal battle
against the tobacco industry, which has pulled in a similarly
Step forward the likes of John Cusack, Gene Hachman (again),
Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, as well as established support players
such as Luis Guzman, Jeremy Piven (a Cusack regular), and Orlando
It is, indeed, a cast to die for, and advance word on the Gary
(Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead) Fleder project suggests
that this could be the first Grisham product to be a legitimate
The premise has been changed, though, from the book; for instead
of taking on the mighty guns of the cigarette industry (a la The
Insider), it's gun manufacturers who are, quite literally, in
the firing line.
The premise remains similar, though. Cusack stars as a man of
questionable motives who, while serving as foreman on the jury,
attempts to manipulate the outcome of a major trial, while his
woman (Weisz) on the outside works the other angle.
Hoffman, meanwhile, appears as a high-profile lawyer who will
stop at nothing to get the verdict he wants, which means going
head-to-head on numerous occasions with Hackman's jury consultant.
Such confrontations make for a mouthwatering prospect.
The film has had something of a colourful past, with several
big names attached to it at various points.
Grisham, himself, brought things to a screeching halt last December,
when the author, who had cast approval, refused to back the teaming
of Will Smith and Mike Newell (who moved on to Bad
Boys 2 and Mona Lisa Smile, respectively).
And when the film rights were first agreed, it had been earmarked
for Edward Norton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sean Connery, with director
Joel Schumacher helming.
But despite initial difficulties, the final cast looks like a
sure bet, and I can't wait to find myself on the critical jury
for this one