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HBO orders drama pilot based on ‘Criminal Justice’

Project, directed by Zaillian, brings Gandolfini back to network

James Gandolfini may be back on the air at HBO, this time on the other side of the law.

Pay cabler has greenlit a pilot loosely based on the BBC series “Criminal Justice” that will star “The Sopranos” vet as a laid-back attorney desperately looking for clients.

Based on the series from writer Peter Moffat about how a murder case unfolds through the justice system, the untitled pilot will be written by Richard Price and directed by Steve Zaillian. Zaillian will write future episodes if HBO gives the pilot a series order.

Co-starring with Gandolfini are Rizwan Ahmed, Bill Camp, Peyman Moadi and Poorna Jagannathan. HBO will produce the pilot, to be shot in New York, with BBC Worldwide Prods.

Gandolfini, Zaillian, Price, Moffat, Mark Armstrong, Nancy Sanders and Jane Tranter of the BBC will exec produce. Zaillian’s shingle Film Rites will produce, along with Garrett Basch.

Upcoming Film Rites projects include “Freezing People Is Easy,” with Paul Rudd and Kristen Wiig co-starring and Errol Morris directing a Zach Helm script.

Gandolfini co-stars with Brad Pitt as an assassin in the upcoming Andrew Dominik pic “Killing Them Softly.”