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'A Time To Kill' Heading To Broadway - Who'll Play Carl Lee? Justin Timberlake As Jake Brigance?

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 25, 2013 4:48 PM
8 Comments
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John Douglas Thompson
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:

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8 Comments

  • Marie | June 26, 2013 1:46 PMReply

    I haven't read the book but I abhorred the movie. I felt that there wasn't a single truthful moment from the second it started until it faded out. I don't want to go into detail about which scenes I thought were phony without potentially spoiling the story for some but suffice it to say that the story smacks of white, liberal, southern revisionism. This story is the way John Grisham wishes his south was versus the reality of what truly happens in America when a black man kills a white man.

  • Sweeta | June 26, 2013 4:57 PM

    BOOM!

  • ScriptTease | June 25, 2013 8:33 PMReply

    My psyche won't allow me to handle these types of movies/entertainment anymore. Maybe after all this hatred goes back into hiding after 2016, then maybe I can get back to not letting ignorant people get to me.

  • ALM | June 25, 2013 8:18 PMReply

    My goodness, I really think that they should think about this. The subject matter here is extremely painful and extremely volatile. I feel as if setting this to music will trivialize something that is still so relevant today.

  • ALM | June 26, 2013 2:24 AM

    Nadia, did you see the D.C. show? You seem to be an expert on the Broadway version, even though it hasn't opened on Broadway yet.

    The subject matter is too volatile, whether it's set to music or not. Setting it to music makes it even worse. I also suspect that possible selection of Timberlake may mean some sort of music added in.

  • Nadia | June 26, 2013 12:58 AM

    It's not a musical though. It's a play.

  • D.A. | June 25, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    This is one of my favorite films, and yet, it was also one of the most traumatic ones I've ever seen. Call me racist, but I loved how the black characters in the film were not portrayed as passive-aggressive types who let "The Klan" walk all over them. That always bugged me about certain films that showed racial conflict, especially in the South. Justin Timberlake is not a bad actor, I think he has the chops to pull it off.

    Quick correction, in the 1996 film, the daughter was raped and beaten, NOT killed. I don't know how true to the book the film is, so I can't say if that was the case in the novel.

  • SJ | June 25, 2013 11:23 PM

    She was not killed in tho novel

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