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 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: