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Runaway Jury is a 2003 American legal thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Rachel Weisz. An adaptation of John Grisham s 1996 novel The Runaway Jury, the film pits lawyer Wendell Rohr (Hoffman) against shady jury consultant Rankin Fitch (Hackman), who uses unlawful means to stack the jury with people sympathetic to the defense. Meanwhile, a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game begins when juror Nicholas Easter (Cusack) and his girlfriend Marlee (Weisz) appear to be able to sway the jury into delivering any verdict they want in a trial against a gun manufacturer. The film was released October 17, 2003.
In New Orleans, an ex-employee perpetrates a mass shooting with a machine pistol at a stock brokerage firm. Eleven people are killed and several others are wounded in the incident. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company s gross negligence led to her husband s death. During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors through electronic surveillance to defense attorney Durwood Cable, who is in the courtroom.
In the jury pool, Nicholas (Nick) Easter attempts to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin refuses, claiming he s giving him a lesson in civic duty, and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice but to select Nick as a juror. Nick s congenial manner wins over his fellow jurors, but Frank Herrera, a Marine veteran, takes an instant dislike to him.
A woman named Marlee makes an offer to Fitch and Rohr by phone: she will deliver the desired verdict to the first bidder. Rohr dismisses the offer, assuming it to be a tactic by Fitch to obtain a mistrial. Fitch asks for proof that she can deliver, though, which Nick provides by getting a juror expelled. By observing the jurors behaviour through concealed cameras, Fitch identifies Nick as the influencer and orders his apartment to be searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch s jurors bounced. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. He also sends his men to find a concealed device in Nick s room, on which key information has been stored, after which they set fire to the apartment. Nick shows the judge video footage of Fitch s men breaking into his apartment, and the judge orders the jury sequestered.
Rohr s key witness, a former Vicksburg employee, doesn t show up. After confronting Fitch, Rohr decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm s partners for $10 million to pay Marlee. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises the price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. After the CEO of Vicksburg Firearms loses his temper under cross-examination as a witness and makes a bad impression on the jury, Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.
Fitch s subordinate Doyle, who is investigating Nick, finds that Nick is, in fact, Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out. He then travels to Gardner, Indiana, where Jeff and his law school girlfriend Gabby (ie. Marlee) both come from. Doyle gently quizzes Gabby s mother, who reveals that Gabby s sister died in a shooting years ago when she was in high school. At the time, the town of Gardner sued the manufacturer of the guns used and lost; Fitch had helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late as the money has already been paid.
Nick receives confirmation of receipt of payment, and he makes a speech, asking them to review the facts, and says that they owe it to Celeste Wood to deliberate, much to the chagrin of Herrera, who launches into a rant against the plaintiff, which undermines his support. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood.
After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe which they will make public unless he retires. Fitch asks how they got the jury to vote for the plaintiff, to which Nick replies that he didn t; clarifying he stopped Fitch from stealing the trial by getting the jury to vote with their hearts. Nick and Marlee inform an indignant Fitch that the $15 million fee will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.
- John Cusack as Nicholas Nick Easter
- Gene Hackman as Rankin Fitch
- Dustin Hoffman as Wendell Rohr
- Rachel Weisz as Marlee
- Bruce Davison as Durwood Cable
- Bruce McGill as Judge Frederick Harkin
- Jeremy Piven as Lawrence Greene
- Nick Searcy as Doyle
- Stanley Anderson as Henry Jankle
- Marguerite Moreau as Amanda Monroe
- Leland Orser as Lamb
- Gerry Bamman as Herman Grimes
- Nestor Serrano as Janovich
- Joanna Going as Celeste Wood
- Cliff Curtis as Frank Herrera
- Jennifer Beals as Vanessa Lembeck
- Bill Nunn as Lonnie Shaver
- Juanita Jennings as Loreen Duke
- Nora Dunn as Stella Hulic
- Guy Torry as Eddie Weese
- Rusty Schwimmer as Millie Dupree
- Rhoda Griffis as Rikki Coleman
- Henry Darrow as Sebald
- Corri English as Lydia Deets
- Lori Heuring as Maxine
- Dylan McDermott (uncredited) as Jacob Wood
In August 1996, Arnon Milchan and distribution partner Warner Bros. paid a record $8 million for the rights to the novel and first-look rights to Grisham s next novel. Directors slated to helm the picture included Joel Schumacher and Mike Newell, with the lead being offered to Edward Norton and Will Smith. The novel s focus on big tobacco was retained until the 1999 film The Insider was released, necessitating a plot change from tobacco to gun companies.
The film grossed $49,443,628 in the United States and $80,154,140 worldwide.
Runaway Jury received generally positive reviews from critics. The film has a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site calling the film an implausible but entertaining legal thriller. On Metacritic, it has weighted average score of 61 out of 100, based on 38 reviews, indicating generally favorable reviews . Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of A− on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and stated that the plot to sell the jury to the highest-bidding party was the most ingenious device in the story because it avoided pitting the evil and the good protagonists directly against each other in a stereotypical manner, but it plunged both of them into a moral abyss.
John Grisham said it was a smart, suspenseful movie, and was disappointed it made so little money.
|Plot||A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.|
|Awards||Awards, 1 win & 3 nominations|
|Writers||John Grisham, Brian Koppelman, David Levien|
|Stars||John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman|
|Produced by||Steven Brown,Jeffrey Downer,Gary Fleder,Christopher Mankiewicz,Arnon Milchan|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Cinematography by||Robert Elswit|
|Film Editing by||William Steinkamp|
|Casting By||Deborah Aquila,Tricia Wood|
|Production Design by||Nelson Coates|
|Art Direction by||Scott Plauche|
|Set Decoration by||Tessa Posnansky|
|Costume Design by||Abigail Murray|
|Makeup Department||Steve Artmont,Judy Crown,Scott H. Eddo,Allison Gordin,Betty Hamnac,Stacy Kelly,Frances Mathias,Adelita Solorzano,Donna Spahn,Sherry Heart|
|Production Management||Thomas A. Imperato,Dana Robin|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||George Bott,Gary Romolo Fiorelli,James Roque,Ann C. Salzer,Mark Vargo,Jimi Woods,Michael Zimbrich,Jay Tobias|
|Art Department||Stuart Auld,Marc Baird,Paul Blanchard,Marc Bouffard,Kenneth Chauvin,Randall S. Coe,John Steuart Curry,Bill Darrow,David Erwin,Tracy Farrington,Daniel Fox,Chad S. Frey,Eileen Garrigan,John Gathright,John Herbert,Dave Kelsey,Vince LeBlanc,Michael S. Martin,Patrick McGuire,Danny Nick,Jorin Ostroska,John Patterson,Marvin Perry,Eric William Pierson,Adele Plauche,Raymond Pumilia,Leonard R. Spears,Chuck Stringer,John Sweeney,Ron Terry,David Tureau,Nita Wilson,Michael Arena,Jason C. Bitzer,Jack Blanchard,Gail Briant,Daniel Coe,Peter Croyle,James Dupuy,Sara Fanelli,David Goldstein,Michael Hendrick,William Hickey,Michael A. Johnson,Monroe Kelly,Dave Kelsey,Leo Lauricella,Molly Mikula,Andrew Rayden,Eric Reichardt,Marcus Turchi|
|Sound Department||Mark Allen,Neal J. Anderson,Rick Ash,Bryan Bowen,Rick Canelli,Patrick Cyccone Jr.,Eric Flickinger,Paul Flinchbaugh,Scott Martin Gershin,Nerses Gezalyan,Hector C. Gika,Glynna Grimala,Craig S. Jaeger,Christopher S.P. Jones,Michael Keller,Julie Lindner,Alexander Markowski,Jay Meagher,James Moriana,Thomas J. O’Connell,Randy Pease,Gary L.G. Simpson,Branden Spencer,Wylie Stateman,Renee Tondelli,Jeffrey Wilhoit,Peter Zinda,John Bires,Steve Finnigan,David Kudell,Brian Reed,John Soukup,Greg Steele,Caron Weidner|
|Special Effects by||Stephen Bourgeois,Bob Cooper,David K. Nami,John C. Hartigan|
|Visual Effects by||Tony Ciccone,Steven Fagerquist,Derek Ledbetter,Brian Smallwood,Mark Spatny|
|Stunts||Robert Apisa,Charlie Brewer,Joe Bucaro III,Billy D. Lucas,Dana Stein,Ron Stein,John Cenatiempo,Jeff Galpin|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Michael Applebaum,James W. Apted,Gordon Ard,Jimmy ‘Coach’ Armstrong,Bob Bates,Phil Bertelsen,Buddy Carr,Gilly Charbonnet,Thomas E. Conrad,Paul Conti,David Crone,Cougar Easley,Chris Ekstrom,Michael S. Endler,Sean Finnegan,Matthew Gaumer,Bob Hall,Lavelle Higgins,Barry Baz Idoine,Vic Keatley,Michael Kenner,Jeff Kunkel,R. Scott Lebell,Lisa Lengyel,Nick Leon,Rick Lupton,Rick Marroquin,John Morris,Paul Olinde,Mike ‘Chewie’ Pappas,Jim Plannette,Daniel Rector,Zade Rosenthal,Mark Scott,C. Alexander Sears,Philip Shanahan,Sherman Shelton Jr.,Michael L. Smith,Mark Vargo,Lynda Vincent,Don W. Wegner,Gary Cadow,Raymond Gonzales,Franklin Jones II,Dan Kubicek,Damon Marcellino,David Norris,Barry Wetcher|
|Casting Department||Craig Fincannon,Lisa Mae Fincannon,Kelly Jones,Chrysanthy Lyras,Jennifer L. Smith,Amy Staub,Tommy Staub,Seth Whitlow|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Donna Chance,Dana Embree,Caroline Eselin,Ann Foley,Linda Gardar,Jeannie H. Kelly,Meagan McLaughlin,Jennifer Day Young,Valerie Zielonka,Michelle M. Pershing,Giselle Spence|
|Editorial Department||Gary Burritt,Ken Gales,Lee Grubin,Kristin Kumamoto,Brett Lavinthal,Jim Passon,Bob Shugrue Jr.,Jennifer Steinkaump,Jeff Williams,Anthony Gore,Ron Orenstein|
|Location Management||Batou Chandler,Dana A. Hanby,C. Robert Holloway,Elston Howard,Deven Schruff,Jeffrey D. ‘J.D.’ Ward|
|Music Department||Peter Afterman,David Baerwald,Michael K. Bauer,Dick Bernstein,Wael Binali,Max Blomgren,Kostas Christides,Robert Fernandez,David Giuli,Simon James,Melissa Orquiza,Jonathan Price,Jasper Randall,Steve Smith,Vofka Solovéy,Adam Stern,Steve Weisberg,Rob Calhoun,Jessica Clements,Scott Glasgow,Flavio Motalla,Margaret Yen|
|Script and Continuity Department||Elizabeth Ludwick-Bax,Alice St. Germain,Caroline Case,Ted Griffin,Scott Rosenberg|
|Transportation Department||Charley Bob Burnham,Peter R. Chittell,Lonnie Craig,Poland Perkins,Frank Perrotti|
|Additional Crew||Brooks Baldwin,Samantha Barker,Mary Beth Basile,Susie Blanchard,Natalie Borlaug,Elliot Brown,Sam Bruskin,Mara Buffett,Kenny Chaplin,Aloura Melissa Charles,Paul Conti,Doug Dearth,Rebecca L. Denton,Tina Dowd,Frank Duffy,Ryan Eustis,Bridget Fenlason,Sam S Fernandes,Greg Goossen,Winston Gregory,Caleb Guillotte,Robin Haas,Ellen Harris Walters,Joe Hartwick Jr.,Dennis Henigan,Rankin Hickman,Timothy P. Hurley,Elizabeth Jurado,Jennifer Kamrath,Tracy Keller,Robert A. Levine,Lindsey Liberatore,Rick Lupton,William V. Malpede,Ryan H. Martin,Mark Miller,Aimee Nance,Jonathan Price,Jason Reppert,Andrea Roa,Anthony Rossi III,Mark Scott,Amanda Segel,Helen Sideris,Billy Slaughter,Julieann Snow,Lee Tucker,Paul Uddo,Wise Wolfe,Laurel Wolowic,Dustin Young,Ilya Beynenson,Rachel Brewer,Tessa Brophy,Jude Cambise,Chip Carey,Trang Dang,Samuel Dyches,Dustin M. Flickinger,Justin Groetsch,John Joly,Alissa M. Kantrow,Ted Kantrow,Michael D. Kennedy,Lauren McAuliffe,Tricia Mercaldi,Elizabeth Mire,Nathan Parker,Jed Pendergrass,Rick S. Sulier,Steve Van Hee,Robbin Michael Wagner,Garson Yu|
|Thanks||Jackie Clarkson,Ernest Collins,Stephanie Dupuy,Ken Hollis,Ray Nagin,Steve Scalise|
|Genres||Crime, Drama, Thriller|
|Companies||New Regency Productions, New Regency Productions, Epsilon Motion Pictures|
|Languages||English, French, Italian|
|Keywords||voir dire,watching tv,woman murders a man,french,french quarter new orleans|