‘Jury’ out to thesp trio

Sean Connery, Edward Norton and Gwyneth Paltrow are expected to join Warner Bros.’ “The Runaway Jury,” sources said. The project, based on John Grisham’s bestselling book, goes before the cameras in October with “Batman and Robin” director Joel Schumacher at the helm.

Deals must still be worked out, however, sources said. With the three on board, the studio will have put together another star-driven film for its 1998 slate. Warner Bros. paid a record $8 million for the rights to the Grisham book in August 1996, and the project has been on the fast track ever since. Grisham and T.R. Pearson adapted the book, and Greg Poirier (who wrote “Rosewood” as well as “Gossip” for Schumacher and Warner Bros.) is currently doing another draft. The project is being produced in association with New Regency Prods.

“The Runaway Jury” is Warner Bros. and Schumacher’s third adaptation of a Grisham novel, following “A Time to Kill” and “The Client.”

The story is about a jury deciding a landmark tobacco case and the juror (Norton) who manipulates his peers to vote his way in the trial. Norton, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Primal Fear,” was offered “Jury” earlier this month (Daily Variety, May 6).

Paltrow would round out the cast. Connery would portray Finch, an operative for the tobacco companies.(Connery won his Oscar in 1987 for his work in “The Untouchables”).

Paltrow, Connery and Schumacher are repped by CAA. Norton is repped by ICM and managed by Banner Entertainment.

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