It used to be that booking the lead role in a based-on-a-John-Grisham-crime-novel was a big step up for plenty of rising male stars — just look at Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, and Matthew McConaughey — and now Zac Efron is jumping right on that train. But is it too late for the slightly embattled former teen heartthrob (who, let’s be real here, is still a big heartthrob)?
THR reports the Efron is on board to star in The Associate, an adaptation of Grisham’s novel of the same name. The film will focus on Efron as “a Yale Law School grad who is blackmailed by criminals and forced to work at the world’s largest law firm.” The book’s long form plot expands on the twisted idea, telling us:
Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.
But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.
Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.
If the film sounds familiar, it’s because Shia LaBeouf was once set to star in it, way back in 2008 (the book was published in January of 2009, so while it had some big heat on it before it even hit shelves, that has worn off over time).
Efron is also set to produce the film through his, cough cough, Ninjas Runnin’ Wild banner (Zac? maybe change that name?), so he certainly seems serious about the project. The film is still in need of a writer before it goes looking for studio interest, so Efron’s attachment will likely push the film into some new territory (read: actual interest!) — which is a good thing for both Efron and Grisham fans!
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