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HBO’s ‘Criminal Justice’: John Turturro to Replace Robert De Niro in James Gandolfini Role

HBO Criminal Justice James Gandolfini Robert De Niro John Turturro
Jeff Bottari / Dimitrios Kambouris / Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Among the many losses to occur following actor James Gandolfini‘s death, HBO opted to move forward with its ‘Criminal Justice‘ miniseries with Robert De Niro stepping into Gandolfini’s leading role. Now, even more change is afoot as De Niro exited production and will in fact be replaced by ‘Transformers‘ franchise star John Turturro.

Adapted from an award-winning 2008 BBC series, the Americanized ‘Criminal Justice’ was to feature Gandolfini as Jack Stone, a “downtrodden jailhouse attorney who frequents police stations for clients.” In his search, the character encounters Naz (Rizwan Ahmed), an American-born Pakistani with no memory of his accused crime of stabbing to death a young woman he met. Now, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that scheduling conflicts forced De Niro to drop out, for which Turturro now steps up.

Having shot this November, the pilot also co-stars Bill Camp as Box, and Peyman Moadi as Salim Kahn and Poorna Jagannathan as Safar Kahn, Naz’s parents. ‘Schindler’s List’ Oscar-winning writer Steven Zaillian both directed and co-wrote the pilot, with Oscar-nominee Richard Price. Gandolfini’s initial role only saw the actor appear toward the end of the pilot, the scenes of which will now be re-shot to feature Turturro in the part. The network originally passed on the pilot, but later decided to move forward with the project as a limited seven-episode series.

We’re looking forward to the new series regardless of its lead, but what say you? Does Turturro make an effective replacement for James Gandolfini, or would you have preferred De Niro in the role?

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