There is a casting change on HBO‘s miniseries Criminal Justice, the passion project of the late James Gandolfini. John Turturro has stepped in to play the role of Jack Stone, originally played by Gandolfini in the pilot. …
John Turturro To Replace Robert De Niro As James Gandolfini’s Successor In HBO Mini ‘Criminal Justice’
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is carrying on James Gandolfini’s legacy with Criminal Justice. Oscar winner Robert De Niro has stepped in to take over the role originally played by the beloved Sopranos star in the pilot. De Niro is attached to act in Criminal Justice, a seven-hour miniseries, with Gandolfini remaining an executive producer posthumously. (HBO previously greenlighted Criminal Justice with Gandolfini as a seven-part limited series in May). Steven Zaillian, who has been shepherding the project for over four years, is set to direct the first hour. Richard Price wrote Criminal Justice based on the BBC series created by Peter Moffat. On the mini, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods., Film Rites and Tribeca Films, De Niro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan. Production is eyed to begin in March.
It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of Gandolfini’s untimely June death in Rome whether HBO would proceed with Criminal Justice. But because Gandolfini had been so committed and passionate about the project, which he was getting ready to start filming upon his return from Rome, the network and Zaillian began exploring ways to do Criminal Justice in his honor. The New York crime story centers on an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney, the role originally played by Gandolfini, who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. While the lawyer part is central to the overall story, in the pilot the character only appears in the final scene. That led to discussions between HBO and Zaillian about recasting the part, not an easy task as I hear the network and Zaillian were looking for a great actor whom Gandolfini would have wanted for the role and who would honor Gandolfini’s memory with his performance. I hear their list consisted of one name only, Robert De Niro, who responded and came on board.
TCA: HBO Brass On Future Of ‘Criminal Justice’, ‘The Newsroom’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘True Blood’ & ‘Family Tree’
The recent death of James Gandolfini reverberated through the HBO executive session at TCA today. “Jim’s passing took the wind out of our sails,” HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said when asked about the future of the recently greenlighted limited series Criminal Justice, which Gandolfini executive produced and was to star in. “I can’t imagine airing the pilot with James in it,” Lombardo said, noting that the network is in discussions with director Steven Zaillian about how to proceed. “Conversations would be about reshooting the portion in the pilot with Jim and recasting the role.” The project, written by Richard Price, was originally piloted as a traditional drama series last year. HBO passed on the pilot in February but then picked it up as a limited series in May. Price and Zaillian continue to work on scripts, Lombardo said.
There will be a third season of The Newsroom. “The odds are excellent – we’re enormously happy with the show,” Lombardo said. “Conversations with (creator) Aaron Sorkin are all about scheduling as he he has other commitments. If we can figure the scheduling, I will be shocked if you would not be hearing about a renewal soon. The numbers this season are surpassing last season.”