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RUNAWAY JURY

About The Production
Producer (and Regency Enterprises founder) Arnon Milchan's passion for RUNAWAY JURY dates back to the publication of John Grisham's best-selling novel in 1996. Having previously produced two successful Grisham adaptations – "A Time to Kill" and "The Client" – Milchan thought RUNAWAY JURY's compelling story and surprising plot twists could be turned into an powerful movie.

When Gary Fleder, who helmed Regency's hit thriller "Don't Say a Word," agreed to direct RUNAWAY JURY, Milchan was ready to move the project toward production.

Fleder appreciated that RUNAWAY JURY couldn't be pigeon-holed in a genre. "It's not simply a courtroom drama and it's not strictly a thriller," explains the director. "For me, the hook is that it's a heist movie in a courtroom; it's about the theft of a jury.

"In our movie, there are several people trying to steal a jury. Not win a jury, but steal it. That's the objective of Nick and Marlee, played by John Cusack and Rachel Weisz, as well as the powerful jury consultant Rankin Fitch, played by Gene Hackman. And ultimately, it might even be the objective of decent and compassionate attorney Wendall Rohr, played by Dustin Hoffman. A heist movie in a courthouse is something I'd never seen before."

Fleder and Milchan were passionate about this aspect of the story. "For us," says Fleder, "RUNAWAY JURY was less about a trial about the specific nature of the trial, and more about the idea of rigging and controlling over a jury. "In Grisham's body of work this is a unique story. It isn't David vs. Goliath; there isn't the typical underdog. It's a much more morally ambiguous piece."

The character of Rankin Fitch was another key selling point for the filmmakers. "He's someone who's self-aware and smart and, therefore, daunting," says Fleder. "Fitch is a great character because he has his own moral center which happens to be one not shared by most people."

The script's moral ambiguity was yet another draw. RUNAWAY JURY's characters are not painted in black-and-white as clear-cut good guys and bad guys but rather in shades of gray. "RUNAWAY JURY challenges the audience because the film isn't clear about who's ‘good' and who's ‘evil'," says Fleder. "Fitch is the obvious antagonist, but Nick and Marlee are involved with jury manipulation as well.'

For the role of juror Nick Easter, Fleder thought John Cusack would be ideal. "I had a very short list of actors for this manipulative, charming and funny character," says Fleder. Fleder's first choice was Cusack whose work he has always admired. "John has a great balance of charm and humor, but also has an edge and a dark side."

RUNAWAY JURY's twists and turns and the complexity of the Nick Easter character were the project's principal attractions for Cusack. "The focus on jury tampering makes it a drama that hasn't been done before," says Cusack. "It's really two different movies; it looks and has the flavor of a courtroom drama, but there are other things going on. For me, the movie is about greed, obstruction of justice and how the system has become corrupted. It's also a movie about human nature and manipulation."

Cusack's interest in RUNAWAY JURY was piqued when Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman joined the cast. "I always wanted to work with Gene and Dustin," notes Cusack. "They were two of

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