Once upon a time, the true mark of Hollywood stardom was your name as the lead in an adaptation of a John Grisham legal thriller.  The list of unknowns who became stars overnight is a long one starting with Tom Cruise in 1993’s The Firm and Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief that same year.  Other young actors and actresses who started their careers in Grisham’s world include a young Susan Sarandon in The Client and Matthew McConaughey in A Time To Kill.

Variety is reporting that one more name is about to be added to that exclusive list.  Shia LaBeouf, best known as the star of The Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens” has been signed to star in John Grisham’s The Associate, based on the thriller due to be published next month.  Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to the novel which is about a Yale Law School student who’s manipulated into accepting a job at a prestigious law firm where he becomes privy to delicate information regarding a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.

An advance copy of the novel was sent to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura who’s currently in the Middle East on the set of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  He and star LaBeouf stayed up all night reading the thriller and acting out the different roles together before deciding to sign on to the film the next morning.  It will be LaBeouf’s second outing with Paramount after the commercial success of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

All kidding aside, Grisham film adaptations used to be solid business.  They attracted big names and resulted in bigger box office.  One glance at IMDB though shows the last two adaptations of his work are from four years ago.  Mickey?  Never even heard of it.  And Christmas With the Kranks?  Well, I guess that explains his absence from Hollywood since 2004.

Are you excited for another Grisham thriller?  How about another LaBeouf movie?


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