Fans of workmanlike legal thrillers rejoice for John Grisham is back, back, back. His 1999 bestseller The Testament will be the next of his courtroom potboilers to get the big screen treatment, joining The Partner and The Associate in Hollywood's production pipeline.
With a cast of stock characters including a crusty billionaire, an altruistic daughter, a bunch of venal relatives, a down-on-his-heels lawyer and a smoking monkey, The Testament follows the fight for an $11bn inheritance that, wait for it, ends in a climactic courtroom battle.
With the optioning of The Testament and the recruitment of Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan and Shia LaBeouf to The Associate, Grisham seems to be flavour of the month again in movieland. Back in the '90s, Grisham could have written a shopping list and been confident of a big-budget Hollywood adaptation, but he's since imposed a moratorium on optioning out his novels which he only lifted three years ago.
With the Da Vinci Code showing the link behind a mahoosive readership and mega box-office - and Grisham boasting 250m readers - Hollywood has nagged away and The Testament deal offers him a degree of creative control and a chunky back-end pay deal.
Hunt Lowry, producer on A Time To Kill (optioned by Warner Bros. for an eye-watering $6m), teams up with Grisham again, joining Mark Johnson (Prince Caspian) and 821 Entertainment. No word yet on who will write the script.