Lionsgate lawyers up with ‘Lincoln’

Studio acquires rights to adaptation starring McConaughey

Lionsgate has picked up domestic distribution rights to Matthew McConaughey legal thriller “The Lincoln Lawyer,” based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling tome.

Brad Furman (“The Take”) is directing the pic from an adapted screenplay by John Romano (“Nights in Rodanthe,” “Intolerable Cruelty”). He’s set to begin lensing in July.

McConaughey has long been attached to topline the thriller. New additions to the cast are John Leguizamo, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe and William H. Macy. Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment are producing with Stone Village Pictures. Lakeshore is handling international sales. It’s the first time Kimmel and Lakeshore have collaborated.

Lionsgate chief operating officer/motion picture group prexy Joe Drake announced the acquisition with Lakeshore chair/CEO Tom Rosenberg and SKE’s Kimmel.

“Lincoln Lawyer” revolves around Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller, who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car.

Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals until he lands the case of a lifetime: representing a Beverly Hills playboy accused of murder. The case, however, turns into a deadly game of survival for Haller.

Cast of “Lincoln Lawyer” also includes Michael Pena, Trace Adkins and Katherine Moennig.

Lionsgate has not yet set a release date. Studio’s next film in theaters is summer event pic “Killers,” a romantic action-comedy starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher that opens June 4.

Producers of “Lincoln Lawyer” are Lakeshore’s Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi, Kimmel and Stone Village’s Scott Steindorff.

Lakeshore secured rights to Connelly’s tome prior to its publication in 2005. Only one book from the prolific mystery author has previously been adapted onscreen, 2002’s Clint Eastwood-directed “Blood Work.”

Last fall, Tommy Lee Jones dropped out as director and co-star over creative differences. Macy will play the role Jones was to have played.

Acquisition was negotiated for Lionsgate by motion picture group senior VP Rob McEntegart and business and legal affairs exec VP Wendy Jaffe; Lakeshore COO Eric Reid negotiated for the filmmakers.

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