The Sopranos’ James Gandolfini to star in US remake of BBC’s Criminal Justice

Tony Soprano himself will return to HBO to film a pilot episode based on the Bafta-winning drama series

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The man who played ruthless Mob boss Tony Soprano in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos is to return to the US network on the other side of the law in a remake of BBC drama Criminal Justice.

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James Gandolfini will star as down-at-heel lawyer Jack Stone, who scours police precincts for desperate clients, in a pilot episode based on the first series of the BBC1 drama, about a young man’s journey through the justice system.

In the US version, the protagonist – originally portrayed by Ben Whishaw – is an American-born Pakistani named Naz, played by British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed. 

After borrowing his father’s cab and emarking on a hedonistic night out, Naz wakes up to find himself in bed with a dead woman. Despite having no memory of killing her, he is soon charged with her murder.

Screenwriter Richard Price, nominated for an Oscar for The Color of Money, will pen the pilot script, while Oscar-winning Schindler’s List writer Steven Zaillian is set to direct, according to Deadline

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The original BBC series, written by Peter Moffat, won best drama and best writer Baftas, as well as three Royal Television Society Awards and an International Emmy.