TVBizwire

HBO Moves Forward With Gandolfini Project, Replacing the 'Sopranos' Star With a Film Legend THR

HBO is going ahead with a project that was originally set to star the pay-cable network's iconic Tony Soprano, actor James Gandolfini. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that the miniseries "Criminal Justice" is back on track, with Robert De Niro taking over the lead role.

The project had been in limbo since Gandolfini's untimely death earlier this summer. Gandolfini will remain as executive producer, posthumously.

The project is an adaptation of a BBC drama with the same title, which tracked different characters in each episode as they traveled through the justice system.

De Niro, a two-time Oscar winner -- for "The Godfather: Part II" (1974) and "Raging Bull" (1980) -- is considered by some to be the greatest actor of his generation ... and it's a heck of a generation, with Nicholson, Hoffman and Pacino among his contemporaries.

In the HBO production, De Niro will play Jack Stone, a lawyer who defends a young man accused of murdering a girl in New York.

Two other TV projects involving Gandolfini -- HBO's "Big Dead Place" and CBS's "Taxi-22" -- were also in the works at the time of the actor's death.

robert-de-niro.jpgRobert De Niro