Grisham's latest: A Painted House debuts on CBS

JONESBORO– Author John Grisham says he likes the movie that was made from one of his novels, A Painted House, based on his childhood years in northeast Arkansas.

"It captures the story; it captures the characters. It has a lot of cotton, a lot of mud, and a lot of floods and a lot of good stuff," Grisham said April 15, presiding at Arkansas State University over the premiere of the film, which will be shown on CBS April 27.

Covesville-based Grisham is most widely known as the author of legal thrillers, but the book and movie deal with the rewards and frustrations of a cotton-farming family in the early 1950s. Born at Jonesboro, Grisham grew up in the Black Oak and Parkin communities. He introduced the film before it was shown to an audience of nearly 1,000 people in an auditorium at ASU.

He said at a news conference before the premiere that he was pleased with the film that was made of his book.

"It's a very, very pretty film,'' Grisham said.

He watched an unfinished version of the movie about a month ago, on home video, Grisham said, and he urged the audience to "forget about the book'' for 105 minutes, and "enjoy a wonderful movie.''

Any sequel to A Painted House, he said, "is several years away.''

If it gets written, a sequel would probably pick up with the same characters, later in their lives during the 1960s, "in the suburbs of Memphis, where I eventually landed once I left here,'' Grisham said.

The screening, and a $1,000-a-plate dinner to precede it, were fund-raising events for ASU's program in heritage studies, a new doctoral program offered by the university.

Grisham chose ASU for the premiere because the heritage studies program "relates so well to the theme of the story,'' according to a news release from the university.

The movie, set in an Arkansas Delta town in 1952, features a young boy who must unravel secrets that could "change his family and town forever,'' said another release, noting that A Painted House draws on "the writer's childhood memories and local lore from the Arkansas Delta.''

Starring Logan Lerman as the young boy and Scott Glenn as his cotton-farmer grandfather, the movie is to be telecast on the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Major parts of the movie were shot at Lepanto in Poinsett County and at Clarkedale in Crittenden County.

"A lot of the stories in A Painted House are just old family tales– most of them probably not true– handed down from my grandfather to my father, with a lot of exaggeration added,'' Grisham said. ``I'm not really sure what's true and what's not.''

The title is based on a distinction made by those living in the countryside and the small towns of the Delta, Grisham said: Town people, who lived in painted houses, were considered different from those who lived outside town.


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