By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 25, 2013 at 5:53PM
It's been something of an up and down ride for HBO's "Criminal Justice," with the network initially passing on the project earlier this year, only to revive it a few months later, reformatted into a "limited event series" (just call it a miniseries, guys). But with the sudden and sad passing of James Gandolfini this summer, just before production was to begin, it was unclear how this would move on. Well, how about one of Hollywood's most famous acting legends stepping in?
Robert De Niro is going to the small screen, stepping in to replace Gandolfini in "Criminal Justice." Based on the 2008 BBC show of the same name created by Peter Moffat, De Niro will play 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. Richard Price ("Clockers," "The Wire") penned the script, with Zaillian to produce and helm the pilot of the seven-hour series. And if it seems random for De Niro to be joining, he's actually worked with both Zaillian and Price before.
The former wrote "Awakenings" and penned the long-gestating Scorese/De Niro reunion project "The Irishman" that seems like it will never happen, while Price wrote both "Mad Dog & Glory" and "Night And The City," so clearly De Niro likes their vibe.
Production will begin next March with a supporting cast of Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan lined up, and Gandolfini to receive a posthumous executive producer credit. And all we can say is, we're looking forward it. [Deadline]