Arts Desk

Gray’s Hollywood Junket Lands Grisham Series

Looks like Mayor Vincent Gray's trip to Hollywood in July is paying off. The Office of Motion Picture and Television Development announced yesterday that the cast and crew of The Firm, a serial adaptation of the John Grisham novel of the same name, are shooting in Washington today and tomorrow. The new show, which is more of a sequel to the 1991 book than a direct translation, is slated for a January debut on NBC.

While attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Los Angeles in July, Gray, joined by film office chief Crystal Palmer, scheduled meetings with several studios and production companies, including the peacock network, to lobby for increased film and television production in the District. Before the meeting, film office spokeswoman Leslie Green says, NBC was not committed to filming any scenes for The Firm here.

"When they spoke to NBC executives in LA, it was not a definite that they would be coming at all but the mayor’s conversations with them seemed to help in making a decision to film here," Green writes in an email. As he did when the USA series Covert Affairs shot around the National Mall earlier this month, the mayor is scheduled to drop by the set of The Firm in hopes of attracting a repeat visit from the Toronto-based show.

The novel, which tells the story of a mafia-connected law firm where unassuming associates work under the threat of a very literal severance policy, was adapted as a feature film in 1993 starring Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere, a young-buck lawyer swept up in the shady company, with Jeanne Tripplehorn as his wife, and Gene Hackman as his two-faced mentor. At the end of both the novel and the film, Cruise's character uncovers the truth behind his firm and escapes with his family into the Witness Protection Program. The NBC series picks up a decade after these events, with Josh Lucas (Glory Road) in the lead role as the McDeeres emerge from seclusion.

Hopefully for the District, The Firm's creators can keep the new series more fresh and engaging than previous television adaptations of Grisham novels. The average small-screen lifespan for the author's legal thrillers is 10.5 episodes: A 1995 series based on The Client ran for one 21-episode season on CBS, while the 2003 pilot for The Street Lawyer was ordered but never aired by ABC.

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  • DJ Ren

    Awesome! How many of Gray's friends (and their children) will receive roles or producer credits?! Of course, after the fact Vince will apologize, "take full responsibility", and insist he had no idea...

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