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The Runaway Jury - Preview



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 big cast.

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 Jones.

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 awards contender.

 

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

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