Jessica Biel Slated to Play Defense Attorney Kathleen Zellner

Production will take at least 18 months

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jessica Beil has reportedly signed on to play the Naperville attorney.

    Kathleen Zellner is one of those lawyers typically described as "high-profile" due to her client roster and penchant for newsmaking cases.

    Well, her profile is about get higher.

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    Jessica Biel (!) has been tapped to play Zellner in the upcoming film, "Privileged Information", a retelling of the Larry Eyler case in which her client - Eyler - went to prison for one murder he said he didn't commit but confidentially confessed to Zellner to committing 21 others. Zellner kept Eyler's secret for 18 months - attorney-client privilege and all - until he died of AIDS.

    "He would give me one confession, then he would kind of shut down again, so it was back and forth," Zellner told the ABA Journal in 2002 in a story that dubbed her "Attorney for the Damned."

    The film still has a long way to go - a writing team hasn't even been selected yet - but Biel is reportedly onboard.

    "It's not going to be a slasher movie. It's going to be more of a thriller, and suspense," Zellner told the Naperville Sun.

    Zellner has said several times that the Eyler case significantly changed the way she conceived of herself when it came to criminal defense cases; she vowed from then on to only take on clients whom she truly believed to be innocent.

    Biel plans to shadow Zellner in preparation for the role, but has warned Zellner that production will take at least 18 months after the writers are selected.

    And Biel has seven other projects in development, according to IMDB.

    We're likely to see her in The A-Team next year before we see her hanging around area courthouses.

    Still, it's big score for Zellner. Sometimes just being nominated is an honor.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.