Matthew McConaughey is set to reprise his breakout role as a leading man from A Time to Kill, as the Oscar-winning actor will play Mississippi lawyer Jake Brigance in HBO‘s limited series A Time for Mercy, based on the book by John Grisham.
A Time for Mercy is actually the third of Grisham‘s books to feature Brigance following 2013’s Sycamore Row, though Hollywood showed little interest in adapting that story. This one finds Brigance embroiled in a polarizing trial when the court appoints him as the defense attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid teenager who stands accused of murdering a local deputy. While many locals want the boy to face the death penalty, Brigance quickly discovers that there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and he risks his life and career to save Drew from a lethal injection.
Deadline reports that Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who worked at Warner Bros. when the studio released A Time to Kill in 1996, will produce HBO’s follow-up series, which will consist of 8-10 episodes. HBO is currently meeting with writers, and there’s no director attached yet, as production is still a ways off. Of course, McConaughey is no stranger to HBO, having starred in the network’s hit series True Detective, which also saw him pursuing the truth at great cost to himself.
McConaughey‘s deal to star in A Time for Mercy has been in the works for several months, and he even promoted Grisham‘s book on Instagram prior to its release. While this story might’ve been adapted as a two-hour movie in the past, a limited series will allow HBO to delve deeper into the story and flesh out the characters more.
A Time to Kill is my favorite Grisham adaptation, edging out The Client. I saw the film in theaters with my mother when I was 12 years old, and it left both of us in tears. Normally, I was away at an overnight summer camp from 1993 to 2004 without any access to R-rated movies, but in the summer of 1996, I was allowed to come home for a week to attend a basketball day camp, and it was during that week home that I saw A Time to Kill and was introduced to McConaughey, who became an instant movie star in my eyes.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, that film saw him defending a Black men accused of murdering two white men who raped his young daughter. It was a powder keg of a movie and Schumacher wisely surrounded McConaughey with an A-list supporting cast including Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Chris Cooper, Ashley Judd, Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland. The climax remains incredibly powerful, and the hit movie still holds up to this day.
McConaughey last starred in Guy Ritchie‘s crime movie The Gentlemen, and he has spent much of the past year promoting his memoir Greenlights on social media. He’s also due to reprise his voice role as hard-working koala Buster Moon in the animated sequel Sing 2.