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John Turturro to replace Robert De Niro as James Gandolfini's replacement in HBO miniseries

One of the projects James Gandolfini was working on at the time of his death was Criminal Justice, a miniseries the Sopranos star was set to star in and produce for HBO. Upon his passing, Robert De Niro stepped into the starring role., in what would have been his first TV role. Unfortunately, De Niro has now dropped out “because of scheduling reasons.” Replacing Gandolfini’s replacement is Coen brothers-favorite-turned-Transformer-wrangler John Turturro. Turturro has a history with Gandolfini: The late actor starred in Turturro’s 2005 directorial effort Romance & Cigarettes, the two co-starred in the 2009 remake of The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3, and, tangentially speaking, John’s cousin Aida Turturro co-starred as Gandolfini’s on-screen sister on The Sopranos.

As for Criminal Justice, the miniseries is a remake of the BBC series of the same name by Peter Moffat. It concerns an “ambulance-chasing” lawyer in New York, who gets in over his head when he takes the case of a Pakistani immigrant (Riz Ahmed) who’s accused of murder. The series was apparently a passion project of Gandolfini, so any actor would find the task of replacing him a daunting one. But Turturro seems like a fine choice—and given the quality of De Niro’s recent work, possibly even an upgrade.

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