MARK KENNEDY,AP Drama Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Sebastian Arcelus, Fred Dalton Thompson and John Douglas Thompson will star in the stage adaptation of John Grisham’s legal thriller “A Time to Kill” on Broadway.
This is the first theatrical adaptation of a Grisham novel after a series of hit movies made from his novels, including “The Pelican Brief,” ”The Firm” and others. An earlier version of “A Time to Kill” was staged at Washington’s Arena Stage in 2011.
Performances will begin Sept. 28 at the John Golden Theatre. Opening is set for Oct. 20.
“A Time to Kill” was Grisham’s first novel and it was made into a 1996 movie starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s a courtroom thriller set in Mississippi that centers on a white lawyer defending a black father who has killed the man who raped his young daughter.
Producers said Friday that Arcelus, who has appeared mostly in musicals, will play the defense attorney role that McConaughey portrayed in the film. Arcelus, who has starred in “Elf” on Broadway and as Lucas Goodwin on the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix original series “House of Cards,” had played the lawyer role at Arena Stage.
Fred Dalton Thompson, the actor of films such as “Die Hard II” and “The Hunt for Red October” and a former senator, will play the judge and be making his Broadway debut. John Douglas Thompson, who plays the father, recently appeared onstage in “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at The Mark Taper Forum and his other theater credits include “Satchmo at the Waldorf” and “The Iceman Cometh” with Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane at The Goodman Theatre.
The book for “A Time to Kill” was adapted by Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes, who wrote “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “Curtains.” Ethan McSweeny, who directed “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man,” will once again direct, as he did at Arena Stage.