A Time to Kill


2h 8m 1996
A Time to Kill

Brief Synopsis

A black man stands trial for murdering the two rednecks that raped his daughter.

Film Details

Also Known As
Juryn, Time to Kill, droit de tuer?
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Thriller
Legal
Adaptation
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Madison County, Mississippi, USA; Canton, Mississippi, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Synopsis

Old ways die hard... and even now in the fast-changing American South, some old ways die harder than others. It's the lesson learned by Carl Lee Hailey, a Mississippi factory worker, when his ten-year-old daughter is brutally assaulted by two racist thugs on a drunken spree. It's the lesson learned by eager young lawyer Jake Brigance, called upon to defend Carl Lee in court after Hailey shoots both men in an act of passionate retribution for the shattered innocence of his little girl. And it's the lesson learned by Ellen Roark, an energetic, ambitious and razor-sharp Boston-born law student at "Ole Miss." As Jake fights to defend Carl Lee, his own life and the safety of his family and colleagues become increasingly jeopardized.

Crew

Andrew Adamson

Visual Effects Supervisor

Jennifer Addington

Assistant

James Alesna

Assistant

James B Allen

Other

Fran Allgood

Costumes

Tom Anderson

Lighting

Julianna Arenson

Production Accountant

Lacey Lee Ashley

Assistant

Angela Barnes

Dga Trainee

Shauna Beal

Assistant

Porter Berry

Assistant

Kathleen Bobak

Assistant

Bob Bradshaw

Dialogue Editor

Charles Brown

Dolly Grip

Ernest Burnett

Assistant

Marietta Carter-narcisse

Makeup

Chris Centrella

Key Grip

Larry E Clark

Other

Celeste Cleveland

Costumes

Michael Connell

Music Editor

Asahel Cooper

On-Set Dresser

Dorree Cooper

Set Decorator

Francis X Costello

Other

Ronald Wayne Cox

Props

Kevin Coyle

On-Set Dresser

Rene Crowe

Other

Jamie Crumley

Assistant

Shirley Fulton Crumley

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Keith P. Cunningham

Set Designer

Paul D'angelo

Assistant

Bonnie Daniels

Production Associate

Gordon Davidson

Dialogue Editor

Gordon Davidson

Dialogue Editor

Zack Davis

Adr Editor

Dabney Day

Assistant

Joe Divitale

Sound Effects Editor

Joe Dorn

Adr Editor

Jo Doster

Local Casting

Dominic Dugandzic

Special Effects

Gary Duncan

Transportation Co-Captain

Gordon Ecker

Sound Effects Editor

Alan Edmisten

Assistant Director

Shawn Egan

Adr Editor

Andra Eggleston

Assistant

Brad Einhorn

Property Master

Robert Elhai

Original Music

Scott Elias

Location Manager

William M Elvin

Associate Producer

William M Elvin

Assistant Director

Janette Evans

Assistant Production Accountant

John Michael Fanaris

Sound Effects

Randy Feemster

Camera Operator

Ingrid Ferrin

Costume Designer

Mali Finn

Casting

Carl Fischer

Boom Operator

D G Fisher

Other

Deven Fredericks

Other

Larry Fulton

Production Designer

Steve Galich

Special Effects Coordinator

Rudolph Garcia

Costumes

Lee Garibaldi

Transportation Captain

Steven Gerrior

Assistant Sound Editor

Lance Gilbert

Stunts

Mickey Gilbert

Stunt Coordinator

Thomas Gilbert

On-Set Dresser

Troy Gilbert

Stunts

Susan Giordano

Assistant Production Accountant

Matthias Gohl

Music Producer

Elliot Goldenthal

Music

Elliot Goldenthal

Original Music

Anthony Goldschmidt

Main Title Design

Akiva Goldsman

Screenplay

Stephanie J Gordon

Assistant

August Goulet

Assistant

John Grisham

Source Material (From Novel)

John Grisham

Producer

Susan Hartmann

Assistant

Mo Henry

Negative Cutting

Petur Hliddal

Sound Mixer

Hilda Hodges

Foley Artist

Doug Holgate

Assistant Camera Operator

Deniz Hughes

Original Music

Joel Iwataki

Sound Mixer

Adam Jenkins

Rerecording

Chris Jenkins

Rerecording

Bill Johnson

Unit Production Manager

Billy Jones

Other

Aaron Kahn

Assistant

David Kern

Dialogue Editor

Dean M King

Best Boy Grip

Jeff Kluttz

Key Grip

Lee Lamont

Foley Editor

Mary Jo Lang

Foley Mixer

Heidi Leigh

Assistant

Chet Leonard

Sound

John Leveque

Sound Editor

Michael Lindenbaum

Assistant

Dennis J Lootens

Rigging Gaffer

Christine Loss

Photography

Hunt Lowry

Producer

Steve Mann

Sound Effects Editor

Blake Marion

Sound Effects

Richard Martinez

Music Producer

Lori Martino

Adr Editor

William C. Mcconnell Jr.

Assistant Camera Operator

William M. Mcconnell

Assistant Camera Operator

Joel Mckee

Assistant Property Master

Peter Menzies

Dp/Cinematographer

Peter Menzies

Director Of Photography

Anna Mewbourne

Assistant Location Manager

Arnon Milchan

Producer

Tim Monich

Dialect Coach

Belita Moreno

Advisor

Richard Mosier

Assistant Camera Operator

Nancy Mott

Craft Service

Gary Mundheim

Foley Editor

Piero Mura

Foley Editor

Kevin Murphy

Lighting Technician

Denise Murray

Music

Boone Narr

Animal Services

Michael Nathanson

Producer

Ray Nevin

Transportation Co-Captain

Jacqueline J. Nivens

Assistant Camera Operator

Tom Numbers

Costumes

Ben Nye Jr.

Makeup Supervisor

Eric Oliver

Assistant Director

Christine Orth

Costumes

Connie Papineau

Script Supervisor

Peggy Penamon

Costumes

Theresa Philips

Assistant

Robert Presley

Steadicam Operator

Robert Presley

Camera Operator

Bob Putynkowski

Color Timer

Rita Racana

Assistant

Liz Radley

Video

Rozzana I Ramos

Assistant

Michael G Randolph

Craft Service

Janine Rath-anderson

Hair Stylist

Matt Rawls

Assistant

Sharron Reynolds

Script Supervisor

Howard Allen Richardson

Special Effects

Eli Richbourg

Assistant

Mary Lou Robertson

Assistant

John Roesch

Foley Artist

Andy Rogers

Assistant

Regina Romaine

Assistant

David Ronan

On-Set Dresser

Bettina Rose

Assistant

Lee Runnels

Other

John Samson

Construction Coordinator

Mark E Sayles

Assistant Production Accountant

Margaret Schlaifer

Other

Emily Schweber

Casting Associate

Ramsey Scott

Makeup

Marc Seigel

Assistant

Jonathan Sheffer

Music Conductor

Maya Shimoguchi

Set Designer

Andrew M Siegel

Assistant Property Master

Mark Smith

Rerecording

Octavia Spencer

Assistant

Fred Stafford

Adr Editor

Bruce Stambler

Dialogue Editor

Stephanie Stears

Assistant

Robert Steinkamp

Assistant Editor

William Steinkamp

Editor

Robert L Stevenson

Hair Stylist

Ray Svedin

Special Effects

Shawn Sykora

Foley Editor

Tommy Tancharoen

Transportation Coordinator

Ashley B Taylor

Location Assistant

Tate Taylor

Assistant

Debra L Tennant

Assistant Editor

Roland N Thai

Sound Design

Richard Toyon

Art Director

Suzanne M Trucks

Camera

James F. Truesdale

Assistant Art Director

Kimberly Lowe Voight

Dialogue Editor

Joel Voorhies

Wardrobe Assistant

Derek Martin Wade

Production Associate

Don Warner

Sound Effects Editor

S Denise Wax

Assistant

David Weathers

On-Set Dresser

Don Wegner

On-Set Dresser

Martin Weight

Video Assist/Playback

Bernard Weiser

Sound Effects Editor

Pamela Westmore

Makeup Artist

Steven D Williams

Foley Editor

Diana J Wilson

Costumes

Michael T Wilson

Editor

Pamela J Wise

Costume Supervisor

Darrell Woodard

Assistant Director

Yvonne Yaconelli

Production Supervisor

Robert Zajonc

Helicopter Pilot

Film Details

Also Known As
Juryn, Time to Kill, droit de tuer?
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Thriller
Legal
Adaptation
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Madison County, Mississippi, USA; Canton, Mississippi, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Articles

A Time to Kill


By the time A Time to Kill was released in 1996, author John Grisham was a veritable name brand in legal thrillers. He averaged a novel a year, his books were consistent bestsellers, and The Firm and The Client had already been turned into hit movies. The small-town lawyer and former state legislator was successful enough to give up his law practice to write full time.

A Time to Kill is the fourth film based on Grisham's books but it was his very first novel. A lawyer by profession, Grisham was inspired to write the novel while attending a trial (one that he wasn't involved in professionally) and hearing the heartbreaking testimony of 12-year-old girl who had been raped. "Every juror was crying," he later recalled. "I remember staring at the defendant and wishing I had a gun. And with that, a story was born." He spent three years writing the novel, about an ambitious young white lawyer in the small town of Clanton, Mississippi, who defends a black man for the murder of the two men, both virulently racist white men, who raped his ten-year-old daughter and left her for dead. The case stirs up racial tensions in town and brings the Klu Klux Klan out in force to threaten and intimidate the lawyer, Jake Brigance, defending the father, Carl Lee Hailey.

The novel was rejected by 28 publishers by his count before a small press published a small run of 5,000 copies, which Grisham promoted by personally taking copies around to libraries and bookstores. While it was not a hit on it original release, his second novel The Firm became a New York Times bestseller and was made into a hit movie starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. After a string of subsequent bestsellers, the novel A Time to Kill was republished and sold over 1.5 million copies. Director Joel Schumacher directed The Client and approached Grisham to follow up with A Time to Kill, with co-producer Akiva Goldsman scripting. It was the fourth film based on a Grisham novel, but this one was more personal to Grisham, who has called it his favorite.

Matthew McConaughey, then a rising young actor best known for his scene-stealing role as twentysomething stoner Wooderson in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993), was originally cast in a small role as Freddie Lee Cobb, the brother of one of the rapists, when he approached director Joel Schumacher and proposed himself for the leading role of Jake Brigance. Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson had both expressed interest in the role and Brad Pitt's name was being discussed but Schumacher didn't think they were right for the role. Schumacher agree to a screen test and Grisham was duly impressed. He agreed that this unknown was right for the role and defended the choice to the studio, which wanted a bigger name. "I had script approval, casting approval, location approval, so I got way too involved," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2004. "When all was said and done I was happy with it, happy we were able to find a kid like Matthew McConaughey." It was McConaughey's first leading role in a major motion picture and his breakthrough role.

McConaughey is surrounded by an impressive cast. Samuel L. Jackson, fresh off an Oscar nomination for his role in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, was cast as the vengeful father Carl Lee, a blue-collar man who doesn't believe that the legal system in this small southern town deliver justice. Sandra Bullock, a star thanks to Speed (1994), is the passionate young law student who volunteers to assist on the case. Kevin Spacey, using the same honeyed southern accent that defines his manipulative Francis Underwood in House of Cards, is the District Attorney who sees the case as a stepping stone in his campaign for Governor. Donald Sutherland plays Jake's mentor Lucien Wilbanks, an idealistic civil rights champion no longer allowed to practice law, and Sutherland's son Keifer Sutherland took over Freddie Lee Cobb from McConaughey. Other members of the cast include Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Patrick McGoohan, and Ashley Judd. It also marked the film debut of actress and future Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, who was originally hired as a casting assistant. She has a small part as a nurse in a couple of scenes. In an uncredited role, character actor M. Emmett Walsh plays a psychiatrist whose testimony is essential to Jake's case.

Though the film was a commercial hit and mostly well reviewed--"This is the best of the film versions of Grisham novels," wrote Roger Ebert in 1996--it was also controversial for defending and justifying vigilante justice. This portrait of the "new" South, decades after the passage of the Civil Rights act and the end of legal segregation, suggests that at least in some pockets, things haven't changed as much as the rest of the country may think, and the portrait of blatant racism and a culture of rednecks who continue to terrorize blacks with impunity is central to the story and essential to the theme.

In the years since, the story has gone to the stage in a play adapted by playwright Rupert Holmes and directed by Ethan McSweeny, which opened in Washington D.C. in 2011 and arrived on Broadway in 2013. Also in 2013, Grisham published a sequel to the novel Sycamore Row, catching up with Jake Brigance 25 years later.

By Sean Axmaker

Sources:
John Grisham official website (jgrisham.com)
"Chart the History of John Grisham's A Time to Kill, From Bestselling Novel to Broadway Thriller," Lindsay Champion. Broadway.com, October 15, 2013.
"A Time To Kill film review, Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, July 26, 1996.
"John Grisham issues judgment on ALL his novels," Tina Jordan. Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 2004.
"Matthew McConaughey: Lone Star Rising," Matt Zoller Seitz. Austin Chronicle, September 1, 1995.
A Time To Kill

A Time to Kill

By the time A Time to Kill was released in 1996, author John Grisham was a veritable name brand in legal thrillers. He averaged a novel a year, his books were consistent bestsellers, and The Firm and The Client had already been turned into hit movies. The small-town lawyer and former state legislator was successful enough to give up his law practice to write full time. A Time to Kill is the fourth film based on Grisham's books but it was his very first novel. A lawyer by profession, Grisham was inspired to write the novel while attending a trial (one that he wasn't involved in professionally) and hearing the heartbreaking testimony of 12-year-old girl who had been raped. "Every juror was crying," he later recalled. "I remember staring at the defendant and wishing I had a gun. And with that, a story was born." He spent three years writing the novel, about an ambitious young white lawyer in the small town of Clanton, Mississippi, who defends a black man for the murder of the two men, both virulently racist white men, who raped his ten-year-old daughter and left her for dead. The case stirs up racial tensions in town and brings the Klu Klux Klan out in force to threaten and intimidate the lawyer, Jake Brigance, defending the father, Carl Lee Hailey. The novel was rejected by 28 publishers by his count before a small press published a small run of 5,000 copies, which Grisham promoted by personally taking copies around to libraries and bookstores. While it was not a hit on it original release, his second novel The Firm became a New York Times bestseller and was made into a hit movie starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. After a string of subsequent bestsellers, the novel A Time to Kill was republished and sold over 1.5 million copies. Director Joel Schumacher directed The Client and approached Grisham to follow up with A Time to Kill, with co-producer Akiva Goldsman scripting. It was the fourth film based on a Grisham novel, but this one was more personal to Grisham, who has called it his favorite. Matthew McConaughey, then a rising young actor best known for his scene-stealing role as twentysomething stoner Wooderson in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993), was originally cast in a small role as Freddie Lee Cobb, the brother of one of the rapists, when he approached director Joel Schumacher and proposed himself for the leading role of Jake Brigance. Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson had both expressed interest in the role and Brad Pitt's name was being discussed but Schumacher didn't think they were right for the role. Schumacher agree to a screen test and Grisham was duly impressed. He agreed that this unknown was right for the role and defended the choice to the studio, which wanted a bigger name. "I had script approval, casting approval, location approval, so I got way too involved," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2004. "When all was said and done I was happy with it, happy we were able to find a kid like Matthew McConaughey." It was McConaughey's first leading role in a major motion picture and his breakthrough role. McConaughey is surrounded by an impressive cast. Samuel L. Jackson, fresh off an Oscar nomination for his role in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, was cast as the vengeful father Carl Lee, a blue-collar man who doesn't believe that the legal system in this small southern town deliver justice. Sandra Bullock, a star thanks to Speed (1994), is the passionate young law student who volunteers to assist on the case. Kevin Spacey, using the same honeyed southern accent that defines his manipulative Francis Underwood in House of Cards, is the District Attorney who sees the case as a stepping stone in his campaign for Governor. Donald Sutherland plays Jake's mentor Lucien Wilbanks, an idealistic civil rights champion no longer allowed to practice law, and Sutherland's son Keifer Sutherland took over Freddie Lee Cobb from McConaughey. Other members of the cast include Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Patrick McGoohan, and Ashley Judd. It also marked the film debut of actress and future Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, who was originally hired as a casting assistant. She has a small part as a nurse in a couple of scenes. In an uncredited role, character actor M. Emmett Walsh plays a psychiatrist whose testimony is essential to Jake's case. Though the film was a commercial hit and mostly well reviewed--"This is the best of the film versions of Grisham novels," wrote Roger Ebert in 1996--it was also controversial for defending and justifying vigilante justice. This portrait of the "new" South, decades after the passage of the Civil Rights act and the end of legal segregation, suggests that at least in some pockets, things haven't changed as much as the rest of the country may think, and the portrait of blatant racism and a culture of rednecks who continue to terrorize blacks with impunity is central to the story and essential to the theme. In the years since, the story has gone to the stage in a play adapted by playwright Rupert Holmes and directed by Ethan McSweeny, which opened in Washington D.C. in 2011 and arrived on Broadway in 2013. Also in 2013, Grisham published a sequel to the novel Sycamore Row, catching up with Jake Brigance 25 years later. By Sean Axmaker Sources: John Grisham official website (jgrisham.com) "Chart the History of John Grisham's A Time to Kill, From Bestselling Novel to Broadway Thriller," Lindsay Champion. Broadway.com, October 15, 2013. "A Time To Kill film review, Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, July 26, 1996. "John Grisham issues judgment on ALL his novels," Tina Jordan. Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 2004. "Matthew McConaughey: Lone Star Rising," Matt Zoller Seitz. Austin Chronicle, September 1, 1995.

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 24, 1996

Released in United States on Video December 30, 1996

Released in United States 1996

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (out of competition) September 27 - October 6, 1996.

Completed shooting mid December 1995.

Began shooting September 10, 1995.

Released in United States Summer July 24, 1996

Released in United States on Video December 30, 1996

Released in United States 1996 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (out of competition) September 27 - October 6, 1996.)