"A Time To Kill" Heading To Broadway; Justin Timberlake To Play Brigance? What About Carl Lee?

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 28, 2011 1:37 AM
4 Comments
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John Grisham's racially-singed 1989 debut novel, A Time To Kill, which was later made into a movie in 1996, is one step closer to a Broadway berth.

D.C.-based Arena Stage already premiered the staged version of the novel earlier this year, before its planned Broadway move.

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 critical about cinema; and I remember liking it at the time. Maybe I'll give it another look and see how I respond to it 15 years later. Something tells me I won't be as kind, but who knows ;)

Anywho... this morning brings word that production of a Broadway run of A Time To Kill is in full swing, with a new reading of the adapted work scheduled for this week.

And guess who's being "approached" for the role of legal eagle Jake Brigance (played in the film by Matthew McConaughey in the film)? Justin Timberlake of course, says Broadwayworld.com. Who else?

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? :)

As I said in my post on the Neil Bogart biopic Timberlake is attached to star in, meh... I'm still not sold on him as a dramatic actor on film, and can't even imagine him on a Broadway stage in an involved role like this one.

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... like the novel that Will Smith was once reportedly interested in adapting.

Another question is who they'll tap to plat Carl Lee - Samuel L. Jackson 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... given the way Broadway casting has gone recently, I expect they'll be going for a bigger "name."

Here's its trailer as a reminder:

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More: casting, Theater

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4 Comments

  • CareyCarey | September 28, 2011 6:00 AMReply

    "Might he be given the opportunity to do so on Broadway? I dunno… given the way Broadway casting has gone recently, I expect they’ll be going for a bigger “name.”

    Tell me about it. I don't know if he'd fall into the big pool of big names, but David Alan Grier is not Sportin' Life! C'mon now, I know this post is about “ A Time To Kill” and I'm going a liitle off track but megaphone-blaring shop teacher Al MacAfee; nor the famously, flamboyant and effeminate Antoine Merriweather of "men on film" is anything like Sportin' Life.

    That's right, forget the re-write controversy, the new Porgy and Bess blew it when they put that "big name" in that "big part".

    But who will they tap to play Carl Lee - Samuel L. Jackson in the film? Well, it will be hard to follow Samuel's image. And actor has to be able to capture Samuel's crazy-greasy faced look. You know, every actor can't talk crazy and look seriously dangerous like Samuel can. Let's visit some of Samuel Jackson's crazy-n-wild negro looks...

    .....Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction) , Ordell Robbie (Jackie Brown), Crack Head (Jungle Fever) and lord have mercy... "Black Snake Moan" (the man, "Lazarus" wore a dirty wife-beater and had a white woman chained down like a dog).

    And who can forget that crazy S.O.B in Menace II Society, Tat Lawson? Damn, he pulled his pistol and shot that brotha like it was a breezy walk to the corner store to buy a cold forty.

    Yep, it's tuff picking someone to play a loud mouth-pistol carrying-nappy headed - flared nose-sweaty-greasy and dangerous looking negro.

    Of course I'm being facetious but wouldn’t it be awfully tough playing a role that Samuel Jackson has put his stamp on?

    Maybe they should get Puffy Daddy? He's a big name. I mean, how did y'all like his "Walter" in "A Raisen In The Son"?

  • Jug | September 28, 2011 4:55 AMReply

    Carl Lee to also be played by Justin Timberlake. Couldn't find any black actors...

  • Tamara | September 28, 2011 4:05 AMReply

    I liked this movie, too and have only seen it once when it released. It's not the easiest to watch, in spite of how things turn around and whatnot. The book was good. For awhile in the 90s I was on a serious John Grisham kick, then the one about the house in the woods and the lawyer and the backwards family with glass jars in their yard and dead bodies in the refrigerator happened...again, and I stopped. Ha!

    Good luck to 'em with the production and whatnot.

  • saadiyah | September 28, 2011 3:22 AMReply

    One minor thing. The daughter wasn't killed. They left her for dead, but she survived in the movie.

    I really like this movie. I normally don't re-watch movies with children being raped/molested, but I did with this one. I thought the performances from all cast members were great. Samuel of course delivers another line that will be quoted forever, "Yes they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell."

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