Mark Wahlberg

The list of top name actors who have made their bones starring in adaptations of John Grisham thrillers is long and mighty. Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Matt Damon, even Sir Matthew MaConaughey; they’ve all seen gigantic career bumps after playing a lawyer or something like it in a work that started off as a taut, thrilling book Grisham wrote about lawyers doing lawyery things. Once upon a time movies like The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and A Time to Kill were guaranteed hits at the box office, and their paperback counterparts were ubiquitous in airport lounges.

But in recent years John Grisham’s status as the world’s top pop author has been usurped by fantasy books aimed at kids and teens. Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games are the new names of the day. It almost makes one wonder if thrilling tales about lawyers cracking dramatic cases can even fly in today’s film climate.

Well, if Mark Wahlberg has anything to say about it, we’re about to see a resurgence. Variety reports that the actor is in early talks to star in an adaptation of Grisham’s novel ‘The Partner,’ a deal that, if put in place, would also see him join the film as a producer. The book’s typically melodramatic Amazon plot synopsis explains the story like this:

“Once he was a well-liked, well-paid young partner in a thriving Mississippi law firm. Then Patrick Lanigan stole ninety million dollars from his own firm–and ran for his life. For four years, he evaded men who were rich, powerful, and would stop at nothing to find him. Then, inevitably, on the edge of the Brazilian jungle, they finally tracked him down.

Now Patrick is coming home. And in the Mississippi city where it all began, an extraordinary trial is about to begin. As prosecutors circle like sharks, as Patrick’s lawyer prepares his defense, as Patrick’s lover prays for his deliverance and his former partners wait for their revenge, another story is about to emerge. Because Patrick Lanigan, the most reviled white-collar criminal of his time, knows something that no one else in the world knows.

He knows the truth….”

At one point The Blind Side helmer John Lee Hancock was thought to be in the running to direct, but he has since dropped out, and New Regency is reportedly looking for a replacement. If the impending deal with Wahlberg becomes official, one can only imagine that an announcement on that front would follow soon after. Look out witches and warriors, John Grisham and his team of stressed out lawyers are coming for you!

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