Novelist John Grisham (The Firm, The Pelican Brief ) had a great ten year starting in 1993 where films made based on his writings attracted some of the finest talent in Hollywood: Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Susan Sarandon, Joel Schumacher, Samuel L. Jackson , Gene Hackman, Claire Danes, Francis Ford Coppola, Sydney Pollack. But here’s how he explains why you haven’t seen his name on a big Hollywood film in the last decade or so.
“I think it’s been 10 or 12 years since the last movie. It is very, very difficult to get a movie made today. I don’t know — well, why. Okay, first of all, Hollywood does not make too many smart, adult dramas. That’s just not what they do these days. They’d rather spend $200 million making a, you know, cartoon for the Chinese audience than spend $50 million making a good, smart, adult drama based on a good book. It doesn’t happen. And looking back, we talked about the movies a while ago. Those first four or five movies that came out 20 years ago, they all had — “A Time to Kill,” “Rainmaker,” “Runaway Jury,” they all had big casts, they all had big box office draws. Everybody made money, okay. And the movie were made fairly quickly after the book came out. The book was fresh, the paperback was fresh, the adaptation worked, the movie came out, and it was so easy. And why that model doesn’t work today I really don’t know. The studio model is fairly broken, I think. They want to make the big adventure flicks, the cartoons, “Spiderman” for 15-year-old boys. That’s what they make, and it’s just — it’s very difficult to get one of these movies adapted.”
Interview on The Diane Rehm Show