{TB EXCLUSIVE} Zac Efron Lawyers Up to Bring to Life John Grisham’s “THE ASSOCIATE”

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and his production company, Ninjas Runnin’ Wild are set to bring an adaptation of John Grisham’s novel to the big screen.

Efron will produce and star in the film as a brilliant lawyer fresh out of school who snags a job at the world’s biggest law firm, but a dark secret from his college days threatens to derail his career.

The “High School Musical” alum who has since taken a more grown up path on screen with outings such as “The Paperboy”, and “The Lucky One” can next be seen in the much anticipated “Neighbors” opening next week.

Efron founded Ninjas Runnin’ Wild in 2010 with Jason Barrett, who will also produce. The company produced Efron’s “That Awkward Moment”, and has a few other projects lined up, including an American remake of “Snabba Cash”, “The Falling” and the crime thriller “The Art of Steal”.

‘Associate’ has been in development since 2008, and originally had Shia Lebeouf to star and Tony Scott to direct. The two left the project over budgetary issues back in 2009. Andrew Garfield and Adrian Lyne were next to take over the project, but both have since left.

The project will now be starting from scratch. The script written William Monahan, whose work includes “The Departed”, has since been scrapped, and new writers are currently being scouted for the project. The budget is estimated to be around $30 million.

In addition to Efron and Barrett, Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher produce from their . Red Wagon, the company behind “Divergent” and “The Great Gatsby” is set up at Sony, while Ninjas has a deal with Warner Bros. With these two studios involved, as well as the ever-popular work of Grisham as source material, there are plenty of homes for this project once a writer comes aboard. Well, truthfully this package with Efron is most likely enough, but a solid writer can only help push this one toward production.

Other Grisham adaptations include “The Pelican Brief”, “A Time to Kill” and “The Firm”. Considering Efron’s fan base, there is a good chance that this one will look to cash in on the 18-24 demographic.

—TO SEE ALL THE PROJECT DETAILS CLICK HERE—

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