Molly Gordon (Life of the Party), Rob Morgan (Just Mercy), Spencer Garrett (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Kirk Bovill (Vice) and newcomer Delante Desouza have joined the cast of HBO’s pilot about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers.
Written by Max Borenstein (Godzilla), the untitled Showtime Lakers project is based on Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.
Executive producer Adam McKay is directing the pilot, which chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era both on and off the court.
Gordon will play Linda Zafrani, whose 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.
Morgan will portray Earvin Johnson Sr. For decades, Earvin Johnson Sr. worked as both a garbage man and on an automobile assembly line to provide a better life for his children. When his son Earvin “Magic” Johnson is presented with an expensive NBA contract, the differences in how Earvin Sr. and his namesake handle privilege, opportunity and attention are made obvious.
Garrett is Chick Hearn, the legendary Lakers announcer who 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 he became one of the few personalities to lead simultaneous radio and TV broadcasts.
Bovill will play Donald Sterling, who already was 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.
Desouza is 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.
Also joining the cast is Joey Brooks, who plays Lon Rosen, an ambitious but overlooked intern at Forum Offices. Rosen works his way up to an executive position, eventually becoming Magic Johnson’s manager and closest confidante.
They join previously announced cast members Jason Clarke (Jerry West), John C. Reilly (Jerry Buss), Quincy Isaiah (Magic Johnson), Solomon Hughes (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and DeVaughn Nixon (Norm Nixon).
McKay is executive producing through the yet-to-be-named company he launched after parting ways with longtime producing partner Will Ferrell and dissolving their Gary Sanchez Prods. Joining McKay at his new company is former Gary Sanchez Prods. executive Kevin Messick, who will executive produce the Lakers pilot alongside McKay, Borenstein, Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens. Jim Hecht co-wrote the story and executive produces. Rodney Barnes co-executive produces.
Gordon co-starred alongside Melissa McCarthy in the Warner Bros/New Line comedy feature film Life of the Party. She was most recently seen in Universal’s comedy Good Boys directed by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky for Seth Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures, and Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut film, Booksmart. Gordon is repped by UTA and Burstein Company.
Morgan, best known for his role as Hap Jackson in the Oscar-nominated film Mudbound, received rave reviews out of TIFF for his turn as a death row inmate in Warner Bros’ Just Mercy, opposite Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson. He just wrapped shooting Universal’s The Photograph opposite Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae, and he also is the lead of the independent film Bull, which premiered this year at Cannes. Morgan is repped by Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Garrett recently wrapped the role of Sean Hannity in Fair and Balanced, directed by Jay Roach. He can also currently be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. On the TV side, Garrett recently recurred on Unsolved for USA and previously recurred on shows such as Aquarius, Bosch, Code Black and Insecure, among others. He’s repped by Abrams Artists Agency and Luber Roklin Entertainment.
Bovill co-starred in McKay’s Oscar-nominated biographical drama Vice as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He can currently be seen in Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History now on Netflix, and he recently played a broken-hearted rancher opposite Ed Harris in the dramatic thriller A Crooked Somebody. Recent episodic credits include Versace: American Crime Story, Young Sheldon, I’m Dying Up Here, Training Day and American Crime among others. Bovill is repped by DPN Talent and Bullett Management.
A graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, Desouza studied acting with the late Robert F. Chew (The Wire) at Baltimore’s historic Arena Players. While at U of M, Desouza was a recipient of Maryland’s prestigious Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant and was chosen to participate in the six-day leadership program, an institute that challenges participants to lead with integrity while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values. He is represented by Avanti Talent Management LLC and Take 3 Talent Inc.
Brooks recently appeared in feature Molly’s Game. He’s repped by WME and Management 360.