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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2003

Film version of John Grisham’s ‘A Painted House’ to air on CBS April 27

April 22, 2003

Fans of novelist John Grisham’s semi-autobiographical novel A Painted House have a reason to tune in to CBS-TV on Sunday, April 27, when a filmed adaptation of the novel premieres to a nationwide audience.

Unlike most of Grisham’s fiction, the novel features no lawyers, courtroom antics, or legalistic maneuverings. Instead, it focuses on rural cotton farms, baseball, and migrant workers of northeast Arkansas during the 1950s. Grisham grew up in Arkansas in the 1950s, and he applied much of what he experienced there in this decidedly different change of pace from his bestselling legal thrillers.

“This is my favorite book,” Grisham told USA Today. “The story was written as fiction, but there is a lot of family history in there.… The stories [depicted in the novel] have been around forever, ever since I was a little kid. A lot of the stories were just old family tales, handed down from a father and grandfather, both with a great sense of exaggeration. So I don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”

The book was first published in serial form in The Oxford American in 2000, a magazine for which Grisham was then publisher and which was based at that time in Oxford, Mississippi, Grisham’s part-time home. Grisham later sold his share of the magazine and it moved its base of operation to Little Rock, Arkansas. The novel, meanwhile, was published in book form in 2001 and became a bestseller.

The novel is the coming-of-age story of a seven-year old farm boy, Luke Chandler, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a house that has never been painted. Set during the cotton harvest of 1952, the story brings together three distinct groups of people: the Chandler family, a family of Ozarks hill people, and Mexican migrants who are hired to harvest the cotton crop before it is ruined by floods.

The film adaptation of the novel was filmed in large measure in the towns of Lepanto and Clarkedale, Arkansas, about 30 miles from Black Oak, where Grisham grew up, on a farm much like the one depicted in the novel. At Grisham’s request, the film premiered on April 14 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

The film stars Scott Glenn, Melinda Dillon, and Logan Lerman as Luke.

The Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of A Painted House airs on CBS on April 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.


Related Links
‘Painted House’ freshens the past,” USA Today (16 April 2003)
A Painted House” — information about the world premiere of the film at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
John Grisham’s A Painted House,” from the CBS-TV web site.

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