With Bates Motel and Hannibal both picked up for 2015, and series based on Scream and The Omen heading our way soon, it would appear that the flood of TV dramas based on popular horror films will continue unabated. Next up on the adaptation block is 1997’s The Devil’s Advocate, which was itself based on a novel by author Andrew Neiderman.
Directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray), The Devil’s Advocate starred Keanu Reeves as smooth-talking Florida lawyer Kevin Lomax, a defense attorney seemingly incapable of losing a case. Lomax soon catches the eye of prestigious New York City law firm Milton, Chadwick & Waters, who make him an offer that he can’t afford to refuse. Kevin and his wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) then head to NYC to get a taste of the good life, only to discover that their newfound fortune comes with a price.
Kevin’s new firm is headed up by the charismatic and fiery John Milton (a gloriously over-the-top Al Pacino), a man who never takes no for an answer, and can bend just about anyone to his will. Of course, he’s literally the devil himself, so his powers aren’t too surprising. With Milton’s satanic offer on the table, it’s up to Kevin to save not only his own soul, but his wife’s as well.
The Devil’s Advocate was fairly well-regarded critically at the time, and more than doubled its production budget at the worldwide box office. With a premise that seems ready-made for the small screen, one wonders why turning The Devil’s Advocate into a TV series is just now being tried. The plot could easily be fleshed out well enough to play in a weekly format, with each new episode featuring Kevin working a new case for the firm, and steadily finding out more secrets about his demonic boss. Of course that’s only one possible path they could take with the series.
Produced by John Wells and Arnold Kopelson for Warner Bros. TV, and written by Matt Venne (Bag of Bones), The Devil’s Advocate TV series has received a put pilot commitment by NBC. For those who don’t speak in TV industry terms, that means that the pilot is pretty much guaranteed to air, regardless of whether NBC picks up a full first season.
There is no word on yet on who will assume the principal roles of Lomax and Milton, but casting will definitely be crucial here. For all of Reeves’ limitations as an actor, his performance in The Devil’s Advocate is arguably one of his better efforts, and NBC would be wise to try and cast as far away from Keanu’s type as they can find. If they cast too similar of an actor, the viewers will likely just wish Keanu himself was reprising the role.
As for Milton, that will be an even dicier proposition. Pacino absolutely owned the role, delivering devilish monologues with a zest and vigor truly fit for the prince of darkness. Whoever takes over for Al will definitely have huge shoes to fill. Not everyone can believably bellow lines about god being an “absentee landlord.”
The Devil’s Advocate TV series is in development, and has no current premiere date.