It has been a while since a John Grisham novel got any kind of notable feature film notice (Christmas with the Kranks doesn’t count) and to have George Clooney interested might be a step in the right direction for the famed author of such novels as “The Firm,” “The Client” and “A Time To Kill,” all of which were turned into major motion pictures featuring actors such as Tom Cruise, Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Well, the screen rights to Grisham’s non-fiction book, “The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town,” a book Grisham has said was probably his hardest ever to write due to all the research, has just been purchased by Warner Independent Pictures and Smoke House partners Clooney and Grant Heslov.
The book was published only two months ago and tells the true story of a gross miscarriage of justice that sent Ron Williamson to Oklahoma’s death row for 11 years for a murder he did not commit. Among the flimsy evidence: eyewitness testimony from the man ultimately convicted of the murder.
As of now Clooney is not set to star in the feature, only produce alongside Grant Heslov.
Variety goes on to say that Grisham ultimately will be paid a seven-figure against gross participation deal if “The Innocent” gets made. But his approval of the WIP deal came only after several conversations with Clooney and Heslov and after sparking to their Oscar-nominated WIP film Good Night, and Good Luck.