Producers said Tuesday that an adaptation of "A Time to Kill" will begin performances at the John Golden Theatre this fall. An earlier version was staged at Washington's Arena Stage in 2011.
"A Time to Kill" was Grisham's first novel and it was made into a 1996 movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson. It's a courtroom thriller set in Mississippi that centers on a white lawyer defending a black father who has killed the man who raped his young daughter.
The task of boiling down the book's 600-plus pages to two acts was handed to Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes, who wrote "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Curtains."
No cast was announced. In Washington, Broadway actor Sebastian Arcelus, who has appeared mostly in musicals, played the defense attorney that McConaughey portrayed in the film. Ethan McSweeny, who directed "Gore Vidal's The Best Man," will once again direct, as he did at Arena Stage.
This is the first theatrical adaptation of a Grisham novel after a series of hit movies made from his legal thrillers, including "The Pelican Brief," "The Firm" and others.
Grisham had long had a hunch that his novel might work as a play and in 2009 producer Daryl Roth, who has produced seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, agreed, optioning the rights for the book.