HBO is recasting the lead of its pilot about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers. John C. Reilly has been tapped to play Jerry Buss. He replaces Michael Shannon who was originally cast in the role but exited due to creative differences.
Buss was majority owner of the Lakers during the team’s Showtime era chronicled in the Untitled Showtime Lakers Project (fka Showtime), executive produced by Adam McKay who is directing the pilot.
Written by Max Borenstein, the project is based on Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. It follows the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that won five NBA titles and defined its era, both on and off the court.
Reilly’s Jerry Buss is 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 dynasty, but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him — and the people he loves most.
Reilly joins previously announced Jason Clarke, who portrays Jerry West.
McKay is executive producing with Kevin Messick, Borenstein, Jim Hecht, who co-wrote the story, Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens. Rodney Barnes is co-executive producer.
Reilly and McKay are frequent collaborators. Reilly has starred in a string of comedy movies McKay has produced, including three that McKay also directed, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Reilly, an Oscar nominee for Chicago who has straddled comedy and drama in his career, is repped by WME, Peg Donegan and attorney Michael Gendler.