Mark Wahlberg To Star In First John Grisham Adaptation In 8 Years

Adapting John Grisham novels seems to have gone out of fashion of late.  Way back in the murky mists of the nineties there was a huge spate of big screen adaptations including The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time To Kill, The Chamber, The Rainmaker and his own original screenplay The Gingerbread Man which had a laundry list of great cast members and superb directors like Coppola and Altman.

Well, Mark Wahlberg wants to get in on some of that legal action as he Variety reports that he plans to star and produce The Partner.

Written in ’97, The Partner is the tale of a lawyer (natch) who embezzles a fortune from his firm before faking his own death.  While he gets away with it for a while, things start to unravel when everything doesn’t go according to plan.  Oh yeah, and there’s the small matter of the dead body that the police find in the back of his car…

John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) was attached to write and direct but he’s since moved on to work on the Mary Poppins origins story.  That means the studio needs to find a replacement rather sharpish.

Wahlberg will develop the film with longtime professional partner Stephen Levinson (Entourage, Contraband).  Handily, they’ve got New Regency’s Arnon Milchan on board too and he’s got previous form in developing Grisham thrillers A Time To Kill, The Client and the last law-based Grisham to hit the big screen in 2003, Runaway Jury.  We’re going to try to forget that Christmas With The Kranks ever happened.

Meanwhile, there are other Grisham projects currently on the boil including a Canadian TV series of The Firm and gestating project based on Grisham’s Ford County short stories.