Last summer, the TV world was rocked when 'The Sopranos' star James Gandolfini passed away at the all too young age of 51. This tragic turn of events left an upcoming project of Gandolfini's, HBO's 'Criminal Justice,' in understandable limbo.
That was until Hollywood legend Robert De Niro signed on to take over as lead actor, in a move that the late Gandolfini would have likely applauded. Unfortunately, De Niro has now bowed out of the project, which would have been his first ever full-time role on the small screen, due to scheduling reasons. Thankfully, another terrific film actor has stepped in to take his place.
Frequent Coen Brothers collaborator John Turturro will now headline the NYC set 'Criminal Justice,' which is an adaptation of the 2008 BBC drama of the same name. The story centers on Jack Stone, an ambulance chasing attorney (now played by Turturro) that finds himself in way over his head after agreeing to defend a Pakistani national (relative newcomer Riz Ahmed) from a murder charge.
While Turturro certainly isn't as high profile of a get as De Niro was, he is a more than capable actor, having been nominated for a Golden Globe and won an Emmy award. Turturro's body of work with the Coens alone ('Barton Fink,' 'Miller's Crossing,' etc.) is enough to illustrate the man's immense talent.
As a gesture of respect and appreciation for all Gandfolfini did to make 'Criminal Justice' happen, the late actor will still be credited as an executive producer when the seven-hour limited series finally premieres. Stay tuned to TVRage for further updates on 'Criminal Justice's production.