Hulu will not proceed with plans to bring John Grisham’s novels to life. Dubbed The Grisham Universe, the adaptations were in development since last year and slated for the streaming service as a two-series drama project. Revered for his best-selling legal thrillers, Grisham practiced criminal law for nearly a decade before breaking into the literature world with his first novel, A Time To Kill.
Based on real criminal proceedings, jury trials, and Grisham’s personal experiences, the former lawyer’s novels have garnered massive success, selling over 275 million copies sold worldwide. Not limited to the page, Grisham’s stories have been adapted for the big screen featuring Hollywood’s finest including, A Time To Kill, The Pelican Brief, Runaway Jury, Skipping Christmas, The Rainmaker, and The Firm. Last year, Hulu opted to join forces with Grisham to create two separate shows, with characters and storylines that would intersect. Helmed by Michael Seitzman (Code Black, Quantico) and Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7, Stumptown), the Grisham Universe would tackle novels The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer. The Rainmaker - adapted in 1997 by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Damon - follows a young law school graduate who exposes the biggest insurance scam in the country. Published two decades after The Rainmaker, Rogue Lawyer centers on street lawyer Sebastian Rudd, who takes on unconventional cases.
However, the gavel has come down on the series' advancement. According to The Wrap, Hulu has officially scrapped all plans for the Grisham Universe. Intended to be executive produced by Grisham, The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer was set to create a unique template for Hulu’s platform. Ideally, the plotlines of each show were to be presented where each show could stand on its own. Navigating a new formula, a shared universe would allow for audiences to watch one episode of The Rainmaker, followed by an episode of Rogue Lawyer, for an intersecting plot.
As of this writing, Hulu has not revealed the reason behind dropping the Grisham Universe. Currently, the streamer has a packed roster and plans to expand The Handmaid’s Tale series with an adaption of Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. Hulu has also teamed up with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin to bring his science fiction novels Wild Cards to life.
Poised as two series in one universe, the Grisham Universe has a lot of potential for growth as a franchise. Hulu nixing plans for the show leaves Grisham's work up for grabs by a platform willing to take on the high-budget endeavor. Toting a compelling premise, non-linear format, and Grisham’s devoted audience, Hulu dismissing the Grisham Universe will no doubt mean a massive success for the platform willing to salvage the live-action adaptations.
Source: The Wrap