September 12, 2019 at 2:05 pm #1203071524
Haven’t seen a thread about this yet, so…
HBO is adding a little Showtime to its programming.
The premium cable outlet is developing a drama based on the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, which went by the “Showtime” moniker during a decade that saw them win five NBA championships. The series will delve into the professional and personal lives of the team and its management as they created one of sports’ most revered dynasties and a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.
The untitled pilot will be executive produced and directed by Adam McKay (Succession, Vice). Also executive producing are McKay’s partner Kevin Messick, writer Max Borenstein, co-writer of the story Jim Hecht, Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens. Rodney Barnes is a co-EP. It’s inspired by Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.
Below, meet the cast of the series and their real-life counterparts. Bookmark this page as THR will update it with the latest castings and status of the project.
Jason Clarke as Jerry West
Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, HBO’s Catherine the Great) will play Lakers legend West, a 14-time NBA All-Star during his playing days and who became the team’s general manager in 1982. West is the cantankerous, tortured genius of basketball, who ought to be the perfect man to build the Lakers into a dynasty — if only he can get past his own worst enemy: Jerry West. Clarke is repped by WME, Robert Stein Management and attorney Carlos Goodman.
John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss
Frequent McKay collaborator Reilly (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights) will play the Lakers owner, who bought the team, the NHL’s L.A. Kings and the Forum in Inglewood in 1979. Buss is a self-made millionaire whose success has only amplified his proclivity for risk. He redefines American sports, celebrity and wealth by transforming the Lakers into a dynasty, but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him and the people he loves most. Michael Shannon was originally cast as Buss but exited the project due to creative differences. Reilly is repped by WME, Peg Donegan and attorney Michael Gendler.
Quincy Isaiah as Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson
Newcomer Isaiah, a recent drama school graduate from Muskegon, Mich. (about 100 miles from Johnson’s hometown of Lansing), will play the Lakers point guard. As gifted in the game as he is magnetic in life, Magic’s fast-paced, captivating play revolutionizes basketball even as his style of celebrity transforms the social fabric of the culture. Isaiah is repped by CAA, Impact Talent Group and attorney Terrence Williams.
Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Hughes is making his professional acting debut in the series. The 6-foot-11 former captain of the UC-Berkeley basketball team played professionally in the USBL and ABA and in Mexico’s pro league and was also a Harlem Globetrotter; he has a doctorate in higher education from the University of Georgia. He’ll play Lakers center (and future Hollywood Reporter columnist) Abdul-Jabbar, whose intelligence, talent, and political activism have made him a living legend but whose introverted nature leads him to be misunderstood by not only the public, but his own teammates. He’s deeply sensitive after a lifetime of betrayals, but the arrival of rookie Magic Johnson sparks his gradual journey to open up to those around him, a quest that re-inspires his love of the game. Hughes is repped by The Van Johnson Company and Barnes Morris.September 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm #1203083155
DeVaughn Nixon (Runaways, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) has been cast as his father, Laker player Norm Nixon.September 27, 2019 at 7:19 pm #1203109358
HBO’s pilot based on the 1980s Showtime Lakers is rounding out its main cast.
Molly Gordon, Rob Morgan, Spencer Garrett, Kirk Bovill, and Delante Desouza have all been cast in the one-hour drama pilot. They join previously announced cast members Jason Clarke (Jerry West), John C. Reilly (Jerry Buss), Quincy Isaiah (Earvin “Magic” Johnson), Solomon Hughes (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), DeVaughn Nixon (Norm Nixon), and Joey Brooks (Lon Rosen).
Gordon will play Linda Zafrani. Zafrani’s intelligence and savvy have earned her a position in the Forum Office, but the arrival of new ownership — Jerry Buss and his ambitious daughter Jeanie –requires her to navigate a complicated web of personal and professional relationships.
Gordon previously appeared in the critically-acclaimed film “Booksmart” as well as the hit R-rated comedy “Good Boys.” Her past TV credits include “Animal Kingdom,” “Ramy,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Our Cartoon President.”
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She is repped by UTA and Burstein Company.
Morgan will play Earvin Johnson Sr. For decades, he worked as both a garbage man and on an automobile assembly line to provide a better life for his children. When his son is presented with an expensive NBA contract, the differences in how Earvin Sr. and his namesake handle privilege, opportunity, and attention are made obvious.
Morgan has appeared in more Netflix series than perhaps any other actor, most notably as Turk Barrett in all of the Marvel-Netflix shows and Officer Powell in “Stranger Things.” He also appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Mudbound.” He also recently appeared on the NBC drama “This Is Us” and in the critically-acclaimed film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.” He was named one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch in 2019.
He is repped by Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Garrett will star as Chick Hearn, the legendary Lakers announcer. Hearn coined terms essential to basketball’s lexicon—including slam dunk, airball, and no-look pass. His colorful language and “world’s eye view” were so essential to fans that he became one of the few personalities to lead simultaneous radio and TV broadcasts.
Garrett recently appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” and will also appear in the upcoming Apple drama series “For All Mankind.” His other recent TV credits include “The Good Doctor,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.,” and “Survivor’s Remorse.”
He is repped by Abrams Artist Agency and Luber Roklin Entertainment.
Bovill will appear as Donald Sterling. Sterling was already notorious for his questionable hairstyle and stingy management of the Clippers—before the infamous tape of a sexist, racist rant went public. Reminiscent of another famous 80’s Donald, Sterling pursues the trappings of fame but lacks tact, empathy, and grace.
Bovill recently played Henry Kissinger in the Oscar-nominated film “Vice.” His recent TV credits include “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” “Young Sheldon,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” “Training Day,” “American Crime,” “Chance,” “The Mick,” and “Hawaii 5-O.”
He is repped by DPN Talent and Bullett Management.
Desouza will play Michael Cooper. Despite having been drafted the season before, a devastating knee injury rendered Cooper a “rookie” alongside Magic Johnson. Anxious and unsure of himself, Cooper is nonetheless determined to prove his worth to the team.September 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm #1203109482
Molly Gordon!!!!October 7, 2019 at 1:44 am #1203125050
Variety has learned that Gaby Hoffmann has been cast as Claire Rothman, while Hadley Robinson has been cast as Jeanie Buss. Rothman is the general manager of the Forum — the first and only female manager of any major market sports arena. The character is said to use her searing intelligence and emotional endurance to thrive in the misogynistic world of professional sports. Buss is the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss (played in the pilot by John C. Reilly). Described as ambitious, smart and eager to prove herself as competent as the men around her, she weighs the competing influences of her role models to forge her own identity as a businesswoman.December 6, 2019 at 11:56 am #1203220272
The pilot has been picked up for a full season order:December 6, 2019 at 8:44 pm #1203220744
First look at Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson:
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