The ‘hit song’ from the 90s returns in series format

The ‘hit song’ from the 90s returns in series format

It would be pretty much impossible today, but in 1990, a courtroom thriller featuring adult characters in adult situations ended up grossing $221 million worldwide. Well, Presumed Innocent , directed by the great Alan J. Pakula, had obvious advantages: it was based on a best-selling book by Scott Turow, and it starred Harrison Ford, one of the most bankable Hollywood stars of recent decades. But those were really other times, the times when films of this type, but on a moderate budget, and without special effects, could attract attention. anytime


In 2024, there is only one option if you want to remake Presumpte Innocent: turning its story into a series, or streaming if possible, and a space where its adult themes can be more freely explored. In the proposed adaptation for Apple TV+ starting today, Jake Gyllenhaal replaces Ford in the role of Rusty Sabich, that prosecutor accused of murdering his brilliant colleague Caroline Polhemus, previously played by Greta Scacchi and now played by Renate Rensef, the heroine of the wonderful novel La peor persona del world.

When Polhemus is found beaten to death, Chicago District Attorney Raymond Horgan (Bill Camp) assigns the case to Sabich. Although he considers him his best friend, Horgan is unaware of the sexual, and perhaps not only sexual, entanglement that has united his underling with the venerable prosecutor. That story was about to cost Rusty’s marriage to Barbara (Ruth Negga), who decided to keep quiet and stay to save the family.

Presumed guilty

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At the end of the first episode, evidence begins to emerge that turns the presumed innocent into the presumed guilty. They’re brought together by Tommy Molto, Rusty’s rival lawyer, who bizarrely plays Peter Sarsgaard, Gyllenhaal’s real-life brother-in-law for a decade and a half. Or it’s not that strange: they worked together for the first time when they shared Jarhead – Hell Awaits.

The new Presumed Innocent movie is created by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies series), producing here with, among others, JJ Abrams. If there’s an expert at creating courtroom thrillers for television, it’s Kelly, a lawyer before he became a major writer on Los Angeles Law and then the author of the fantasy Ally McBeal, the somewhat realistic The Lawyer and the previously lesser-known, but no less effective Boston Legal, Law Harry or Goliath.

Platforms allow you more freedom than public threads, both in terms of topics and language. But creating content for Apple TV+ means abandoning the ’90s nudity (not the more graphic violence) and, apparently, some daring character building as well.

The original Rusty, Ford’s, was more obscure than those in the series. The character of Polhemus is no longer a modern femme fatale. When he decides to break off his relationship with Rusty, he does so not because this man no longer serves him, but for noble reasons. In an apparent attempt to appeal to the viewer’s sympathy, Kelly and his team forgot to build up the unsettling potential and moral discomfort that helped make Pakula’s vision work.

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