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Fox 2000 Picks Up John Grisham's 'The Racketeer' As Vehicle For 'Safe House' Director Daniel Espinosa

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 12, 2013 at 6:09PM

It's coming on nine years since the last movie based on a work by John Grisham hit the screen ("Christmas With The Kranks"), and ten years if you stick strictly to his bread-and-butter legal thrillers ("Runaway Jury"). But Grisham is still a big name and a bestselling author, and it's no surprise that Hollywood has been eager to get back in the game with the writer. NBC tried, and failed, to turn "The Firm" into a series, and over the past year a number of his books have been developing including "The Associate," "Calico Joe" and "The Partner." And now another is entering the fray.
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The Racketeer Daniel Espinosa

It's coming on nine years since the last movie based on a work by John Grisham hit the screen ("Christmas With The Kranks"), and ten years if you stick strictly to his bread-and-butter legal thrillers ("Runaway Jury"). But Grisham is still a big name and a bestselling author, and it's no surprise that Hollywood has been eager to get back in the game with the writer. NBC tried, and failed, to turn "The Firm" into a series, and over the past year a number of his books have been developing including "The Associate," "Calico Joe" and "The Partner." And now another is entering the fray.

Fox 2000 and New Regency are teaming up for "The Racketeer," landing the rights and setting it up as a vehicle for "Safe House" director Daniel Espinosa. The book tells the story of a jailed former attourney who holds the key to solving the murder of a federal judge, and hopes to parlay that knowledge into helping him get revenge on the people who put him behind bars. A bit unclear? Here's the Amazon synopsis: 

Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday...

So, it sounds like a meat-and-potatoes Grisham potboiler, which makes us wonder why Espinosa would be interested in the first place, as he tends to take on stuff with a bit more complexity. A search for a writer is on, and once the script comes in, that will likely decide if Espinosa stays or goes. Until then, he'll be busy this summer shooting the Cold War thriller "Child 44" with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace. [THR]

This article is related to: The Racketeer, Daniel Espinosa


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