Kevin Costner Enters the TV Game with Amazon’s ‘The Trial’

Kevin Costner in Draft Day


Netflix gets most of the press for their streamed original content, but between the excellent “Transparent” and what I’ve seen thus far from their newly imported arrival “Catastrophe,” Amazon‘s got more than a few aces in their sleeves to place them firmly into the competition. Having Terry Gilliam‘s latest movies, is also a big plus. And it looks as though they’ve got some more good eggs in their basket coming up, as Kevin Costner is in talks to frontline David E. Kelley‘s (“Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Boston Legal“) latest legal drama “The Trial.”

Even though Amazon’s model consists primarily of letting users decide whether or not a show gets a full-season order based on their pilots, should Costner sign on it would get a straight-to-series order. The two-time Academy Award-winner would also executive produce “The Trial” if he’s attached. Not counting Allen’s upcoming whatever-he’s-creating, this would be the first straight-to-series program the site’s hosted. It’s also going to be Costner’s first television series, with his only serious TV commitment before this being the History Channel mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys.”

Costner would play Billy McBride, a once-respected lawyer ousted by the high-profile firm he co-founded. Now spending his days getting drunk, with his ex-wife only occasionally sending him a case, he finds inspiration once again whene a recently-fired young lawyer gives him a wrongful death case that would have him up against the head of his former firm. Kelly wrote the pilot, with his Ally McBeal director David Semel directing the episode.

This is not the only program Kelley currently is cooking up. In addition to “The Trial”, he also has his fingers dipped into the upcoming HBO limited series “Big Little Lies,” which also stars big-screen talents Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. While I love me some court room films, I never really got into any of these heavy court-room dramas on the small screen, especially when it seems like twenty new ones come on the TV every new season on the big-four stations. But this one certainly looks like it has potential, and if they can get the talent involved and continue their uprising scale, I’d love to check out what they create. Particularly if they plan to pick up “Hannibal” as seems to be a possibility at this point.

Meanwhile, Costner isn’t completely out of the movie industry just yet, for in addition to starring in The Hollywood Reporter]