Kevin Costner is not about to become the next movie star making the transition to television. The Man Of Steel and Robin Hood star has passed on an offer to play the lead in The Trial, Amazon’s recently announced drama project from The Practice and Monday Mornings creator David E. Kelley.
Penned by Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, The Trial tells the story of Billy McBride, a once powerful lawyer who was ousted from the firm he co-founded after losing a high-profile case which led to a kids death. Though an alcoholic, Billy pursues a new case which finds him going up against Cooper, the partner who kicked him out of the firm he helped build.
Amazon had been pulling out all the stops to convince Costner to sign on, but ultimately the actor decided he wasn’t ready to commit to a TV job at this time (his only major TV credit is the History mini Hatfields & McCoys). With Costner out, the streaming service is going back to the drawing board, determined to find a “big name” actor to play the part of Billy McBride.
It is not immediately clear what impact Costner’s decision to pass on The Trial will have. When it appeared that he would sign on, Amazon was preparing to bypass their “egalitarian” pilot model and instead hand the project a ten episode straight-to-series order. They MAY still do that, but for Amazon to have enough confidence to pull the trigger on what would be their first straight-to-series order, Kelley’s team will need to find the right “name” actor to play Billy.