Two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon has been cast as Lakers owner Jerry Buss in Adam McKay‘s HBO drama pilot about the Showtime Lakers, which is now, understandably, untitled.
The series will depict Buss as a self-made millionaire whose success has only amplified his proclivity for risk. Buss redefines American sports, celebrity, and wealth by transforming the Lakers into a basketball dynasty, but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him — and the people he loves most.
McKay has previously cast Jason Clarke as Jerry West, the “cantankerous tortured genius of basketball,” per HBO. West ought to be the perfect man to build the Lakers into a dynasty, if only he could get past his own worst enemy — himself.
The HBO series is based on Jeff Pearlman‘s non-fiction book Showtime, which chronicled the personal and professional lives of the Showtime-era Lakers — a team that defined its era, both on and off the court. In addition to Buss and West, key characters coach Pat Riley and All-Star players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. There aren’t many established Hollywood stars who are 7-feet tall, so McKay will be forced to cast either newcomers, shorter actors, or retired NBA players as the Lakers.
McKay will direct the pilot and executive produce alongside Kevin Messick under McKay’s new, yet-to-be-named company. Max Borenstein will serve as writer and executive producer, while Jim Hecht will serve as co-writer and executive producer. Jason Shuman, Scott Stephens and Rodney Barnes roundsout the EP team. Additional casting is under way, and McKay is expected to start shooting the pilot in September. The series was previously titled Showtime, but seeing as Showtime is also a network that counts HBO as its chief rival, it made sense to change the title rather than confuse audiences.
Shannon has earned two Oscar nominations for his intense turns in Revolutionary Road and Nocturnal Animals, and he co-starred in Guillermo del Toro‘s recent Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. He’ll soon be seen in Rian Johnson‘s whodunit Knives Out and in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s long-delayed drama The Current War, which pairs him with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Shannon will also be seen in the indie movie Echo Boomers with Nick Robinson, and Scott Teems‘ The Quarry, in which he stars opposite Shea Whigham. Shannon will soon begin lensing Howard Deutch’s romantic coming-of-age drama Swing, which will find Shannon playing a Vietnam vet who takes over as the coach of a dysfunctional college crew team.
Next year, Shannon will star in Samuel Beckett‘s Waiting for Godot opposite Paul Sparks (House of Cards). The actor has a long history with HBO, having starred in Boardwalk Empire, Ramin Bahrani‘s film Fahrenheit 451, and the Duplass brothers’ anthology series Room 104. He’s represented by CAA, Wetzel Entertainment Group and Morris, Yorn.