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Robert De Niro Replacing James Gandolfini in HBO's 'Criminal Justice' Mini

The late "Sopranos" star will remain an executive producer posthumously after first developing the project as a series and starring vehicle.

James Gandolfini Robert De Niro - H 2013
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HBO is moving forward with the seven-part miniseries Criminal Justice, originally planned as a starring vehicle for the late James Gandolfini.

The network confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that Robert De Niro has stepped into the lead role, three months after Gandolfini's sudden death put the project in limbo. Gandolfini will stay on as executive producer, posthumously, and Steven Zaillian will direct the first hour.

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Criminal Justice, a stateside adaptation of Peter Moffat's 2008 BBC drama of the same name, was originally developed as a series at HBO. The network passed on the pilot in February, only to revive it as a limited series in May.

It is being produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods., Film Rites and Tribeca Films. The story follows Jack Stone (De Niro), an ambulance-chasing lawyer who becomes involved in a case defending a young man accused of murdering a girl on New York's Upper West Side. Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan also star.

The original series took something of a different tack, with each episode of its two-season run tracking a different individual on trial for murder through the court process with a different cast.

Gandolfini, Zaillian and Moffat are joined as EPs by Richard Price, BBC Worldwide's Jane Tranter and Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal. Film Rites’ Garrett Basch and Attaboy’s Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders will serve as co-eps and Berry Welsh as co-producer.