Josh Lucas signed on to revamp Tom Cruise's action drama The Firm as a new TV series after a fascinating stint as a jury member.
The Sweet Home Alabama star, who revamps Cruise's character Mitch MCDeere in the new show, was inspired to take on the role in the new adaptation of John Grisham's fast-paced novel following a New York City case, which ended with a life imprisonment verdict.
He admits had missed jury duty multiple times because he was working on location, but he had to do his civic duty in November, 2010, and found himself part of a big trial.
Lucas recalls, "The second I walked in, I saw this guy recognise me, the defendant. I saw him talk to his lead legal counsel about it, so I went immediately to the bailiff and I said, 'I need to speak to the judge,' and the judge said, 'If we release everyone who came here because they had conflicts of interest like yours, we would not be able to get juries. We’ve decided to stop doing that. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous anymore. Unless we determine you’re in danger, that’s the only way you can be dismissed.
"I then got chosen."
Lucas continues, "It was such a severe case that they had to not just shackle him, but they had to hold him down in the courtroom during his testimony. I can’t tell you much (but) it was incredibly severe and violent."
The jury convicted the unnamed man for life, and Lucas admits the whole experience affected him deeply: "He was involved in multiple crimes before, which we were not actually allowed to know and that’s where I fell in love with the legal elements.
"There was so much that I found out after the fact that would have coloured my thoughts. So I thought... 'If it’s done right, it makes for very interesting television.'"
Lucas' The Firm debuted in America on 8 January (12).