When James Gandolofini suddenly and sadly passed away last year, a project that was unfortunately left in the lurch was HBO's "Criminal Justice." The show had already been through some development hurdles, with the network originally passing on the project, but later coming back on board when it was retooled as a limited series. And then things looked even better when Robert De Niro signed up to replace Gandolfini in the fall, but it looks like there's another casting switcheroo happening.
De Niro has exited the show citing schedule problems, but the always reliable John Turturro has stepped into the leading role. Penned by Richard Price ("Clockers," "The Wire"), with Steven Zaillian producing and directing the pilot of the seven-hour series, the remake of the BBC show will find Turturro playing an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney who decides to defend a Pakistani man accused of murdering a girl from the Upper West Side he was partying with, but can't remember if he committed the crime.
His latest directorial effort, "Fading Gigolo," aside, it's been a while since we've seen the excellent Turturro in a leading role worth his talent, and this looks like a big, meaty part for the actor to dive into, so that's pretty exciting stuff. And he'll have a nice supporting cast around him with Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan also slated. No word yet on when cameras will start rolling, but presumably very soon. [THR]