EXCLUSIVE: Game Change writer Danny Strong, The Fighter director David O. Russell and Oscar winner Robert De Niro have teamed for a legal drama series inspired by a famous New York father/daughter lawyer duo, which has sold to CBS. The project hails from De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Prods. and CBS TV Studios. Strong is writing, Russell is set to direct, with the two executive producing alongside De Niro, Rosenthal and Diane Nabatoff. The drama is inspired by the father-and-daughter defense attorneys Murray and Stacey Richman. It will center on a fictionalized version of the Richmans’ Bronx firm, where clients as notorious on the street as they are on Page Six.
In the almost 50 years of practicing law, Murray Richman, nickname “Don’t Worry Murray,” has worked for clients ranging from hip-hop stars like Jay-Z to the upper echelon of the Genovese and Lucchese crime families to former NY Governor Eliott Spitzer’s escort procurer. In addition to his cases, Murray is famous for his courtroom quips, like “I love a murder trial — one less witness to worry about” and “I’ll be brief… I’m already short.” (He is 5’6″). Below is documentarymaker Errol Morris’ video interview/portrait of Murray that provides a glimpse into his background, philosophy, personality as well as some of his cases. In it, Murray boasts about winning an acquittal for a client who had stabbed a guy to death seven times by convincing the jury that the victim kept “backing into the knife.” Stacey Richman, a star attorney of her own, has a clientele that includes Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Ja Rule, Scout Willis, Kid Cudi and Freekey Zekey.
This marks the pilot writing debut for actor-turned-writer Strong who switched to writing with the HBO movie Recount. It was followed by HBO’s Game Change, both earning him Emmy writing nominations. Strong made his feature writing debut with Lee Daniels’ upcoming The Butler. The CBS drama would make the TV directing debut for O’Russell, an Oscar nominee for The Fighter. The project stems from Tribeca’s overall deal at CBS TV Studios, which already has yielded a series on CBS, last season’s NYC 22. The company’s Berry Welsh will serve as a producer on the new project. Strong, O’Russell and Tribeca are with CAA.