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Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors

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    Items 21-30
    John Grisham
    Chris Wolf/FilmMagic/Getty Images
    24. John Grisham
    Known For: "The Firm." Big Number: Adaptations of nine of his books have grossed $980 million worldwide at the box office.

    Since publishing A Time to Kill in 1988 — a book rejected by 28 publishers — Grisham has churned out one novel a year, nine of which have been made into films. From Tom Cruise (1993’s The Firm) to Julia Roberts (1993’s The Pelican Brief) to Matt Damon (1997’s The Rainmaker), Hollywood’s A-list has lined up to tackle big-screen adaptations of Grisham’s legal thrillers. During a recent appearance on The Colbert Report to promote his latest novel, The Racketeer, Grisham was asked by host Stephen Colbert if he was competing with Stephen King. “He’ll call me up and say, ‘This is No. 48, and you only have 30,’ ” quipped the 57-yearold former lawyer and married father of two. “He’s 18 books ahead, but he got published earlier in life than I did.”

    As for Grisham’s upcoming film projects, Lorenzo di Bonaventura is developing an adaptation of the author’s 2009 best-seller The Associate with Adrian Lyne attached to direct. But Grisham’s books have traveled to the small screen with less success. The Client (CBS) in 1995 and last season’s The Firm (NBC) lasted just one season each. Although Grisham is best known for his adult courtroom page-turners, he has scored hits recently with the baseball-themed Calico Joe and the YA series Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (hardcover sales of more than 1 million). “I couldn’t write about architecture or a dentist,” he told Colbert. “People love stories about lawyers, especially crooked lawyers, and dead judges. This stuff sells.”

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