Billy Bob Thornton has lined up his next TV role. Following his standout performance on the first season of FX’s Fargo, the veteran actor has signed on to play the lead in The Trial, Amazon Studios’ upcoming TV drama project from The Practice creator David E. Kelley.
Penned by David E Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, The Trial tells the story of Billy McBride (Thornton), 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.
The casting of Billy Bob Thornton, which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, comes after Amazon has spend the past several weeks searching for the right “name” actor to topline the series. Previously, the streaming service had aggressively pursued Kevin Costner for The Trial, which would have been his first major TV role. The actor ultimately passed, however, opting to continue his feature films career.
Now that Amazon and David E. Kelley have found their lead actor, The Trial is expected to bypass Amazon Studios’ so-called “egalitarian” pilot model and score a ten episode straight-to-series order. Casting for the remaining series regular roles are now underway. David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro will executive produce The Trial alongside Ross Fineman.