David E. Kelley has begun the process of rebuilding “The Practice,” bringing in James Spader to fill the void left by the soon-to-depart Dylan McDermott.
In addition, actress Rhona Mitra — most recently seen in “Sweet Home Alabama” and “The Life of David Gale” — has been approached about joining the skein, though no deal has been worked out.
In a move that stunned his own actors and possibly ABC execs, Kelley last month fired most of the stars of “The Practice,” including series lead McDermott. Move was an economic reaction to the Alphabet’s dramatically cutting its license fee for the show.
A spokeswoman for the producer said Spader’s deal wasn’t yet done, but Kelley nonetheless issued a statement anticipating Spader will be on the set when “The Practice” begins shooting its new season later this summer.
“It is a writer’s dream to work with an actor as multifaceted and layered as James Spader is,” Kelley said. “I’ve been a fan of his for some time and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity for us to work together.”
Spader will play a “complicated, ethically challenged” attorney named Alan Shore, the Kelley rep said.
ICM-repped thesp has some experience playing offbeat lawyers: He most recently starred in the critically hailed feature “Secretary,” playing an attorney with a penchant for S&M. Spader first broke through with his role in “sex, lies and videotape.”
Kelley rep had no comment about the potential casting of Mitra, who’s repped by CAA.
It promises to be a busy casting season for the Kelley camp. In addition to filling a few more roles on “The Practice,” scribe needs to add a few more faces to “Boston Public” to replace departing thesps. Also up for grabs is a role as one of the three brothers at the center of “The Brotherhood of Poland, NH.”