EXCLUSIVE: In what would be a big coup for Amazon, I hear the streaming service is talking to Kevin Costner for the lead in one of its pilots. I’ve learned that the Oscar winner is in negotiations to star in Trial, the Amazon Studios drama from The Practice, Ally McBeal and Picket Fences creator David E. Kelley. With him on board, the project would get a 10-episode straight-to-series order. David Semel, who has directed the pilots for such series as Heroes, Person Of Interest, Madam Secretary, and most recently, CBS’ upcoming Code Black and Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle, is expected to direct.
The legal drama, which Kelley co-wrote with his Practice and Boston Legal producer, fellow former attorney Jonathan Shapiro, centers on Billy McBride (the role that Costner is in talks for). Once a big and powerful lawyer, Billy has become a shell of his former self, an alcoholic in a rumpled suit. Billy’s downfall came after he lost a case that saw an innocent kid murdered, and his guilt-driven alcoholism cost him his wife and his job after his longtime partner Cooper turned on him and kicked him out of their law firm. Still hanging onto his dry charisma, Billy is now going head-to-head against Cooper, bringing a case against his former partner, which begins to stir in him his old ambition.
Kelley and Shapiro executive produce Trial with Ross Fineman (FX’s Lights Out, A&E’s Damien).
Trial is one of several drama pilots that were recently quietly picked up by Amazon including Shane Black’s spaghetti Western Edge; thriller/family dramedy The Patriot, from Steve Conrad; and 1970s drama The Good Girls Revolt.
This would make Costner’s TV series debut. He made his first foray into TV with the History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, which broke cable ratings records and earned Costner an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award. He recently produced and starred in the movie Black And White. Costner is repped by WME, Zero Gravity Management and Hirsch Wallerstein.