'Departed' writer to adapt legal thriller

“The Departed” scribe William Monahan has been set by Paramount to adapt John Grisham’s bestselling legal thriller “The Associate” as a star vehicle for Shia LaBeouf.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing.

The studio acquired rights to the novel late last year (Daily Variety, Dec. 2). Di Bonaventura and LaBeouf sparked to the notion of doing it together after reading the book in galley form while they were on the set of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” The novel was published in January by Random House.

LaBeouf will play a Yale Law School student with a sordid secret that leaves him vulnerable to blackmail. He’s manipulated into taking a job at a law firm and working on a multibillion-dollar lawsuit. Monahan, who won an Oscar for adapting the Asian film “Infernal Affairs” into “The Departed” for Martin Scorsese, takes on the job as he is preparing to make his directorial debut on his scripted adaptation of the Ken Bruen novel “London Boulevard,” financed by GK Films and starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley. Production begins in June in London.

Monahan most recently scripted “Edge of Darkness,” the Martin Campbell-directed drama that stars Mel Gibson.

The writer is repped by Endeavor.

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