William Monahan is an attention-whore. Nary does he let one week go by between announced projects. Last week, he was reported as working on an adaptation of “The Art of the Heist.” Today, he’s working on a newly published John Grisham novel, titled “The Associate.” The adaptation is set up for Shia LaBeouf to star.
“Variety” describes the scenario: “LaBeouf will play a Yale Law School student with a sordid secret that leaves him vulnerable to blackmail. He’s manipulated into taking a job at a law firm and working on a multibillion-dollar lawsuit.”
Although Grisham is most closely associated with legal thrillers, his last film adaptation was Christmas with the Kranks(!), based on his novel, “Skipping Christmas.”
I’m normally not truly enticed by legal thrillers, but I did enjoy the Ryan Gosling/Anthony Hopkins pairing in Fracture a couple of years ago. I do still like LaBeouf as an actor, and this will certainly be his most grown-up role to date, next to Eagle Eye. I think Monahan’s Oscar-winning ways may elevate this above standard fare, but it’s all up to his yet-to-be-seen talent behind the camera. We’ll get a peek at that when his project as writer-director, London Boulevard, is released. Filming starts on that in June.
The best legal-based visual piece I’ve seen was a 12-part documentary that aired on The Sundance Channel, called The Staircase. It details a man who is accused of murdering his wife, from the 911 call, to investagation, to meetings with the lawyers, to the trail. It’s completely fascinating from beginning to end and I had so much invested in it, I couldn’t help but be furious by the end. But that was my interpretation of the evidence. My parents had a different perspective. Here’s a brief, very nondescript clip:
Buy it here.