EXCLUSIVE: Winston Duke (Black Panther, Us) has been tapped as the lead in Swagger, Apple’s new basketball-themed drama series from NBA superstar Kevin Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures, Shots Fired co-creator Reggie Rock Bythewood, Imagine Television Studios and CBS TV Studios, where Imagine TV has a first-look deal.
Written and directed by Bythewood, who also serves as showrunner, Swagger is inspired by Durant’s youth basketball experiences. It explores the world of youth basketball, and the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption.
Duke stars as Ike, a youth basketball coach and former star player.
Bythewood executive produces with Durant, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo for Imagine TV, Rich Kleiman for Thirty Five Ventures and Samantha Corbin Miller. The series will go into production this month.
James Seidman will serve as the Imagine executive on Swagger; Sarah Flynn will serve as executive for Thirty Five Ventures. The drama is co-produced by Imagine TV Studios and CBS TV Studios.
This marks a return to TV series for Duke who started his acting career in television, with a major recurring role on CBS’ Person Of Interest among his first gigs. Duke, probably best known for his role as M’Baku in Marvel’s Black Panther and Avengers movies, recently headlined, alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Jordan Peele’s Us. He will next be seen in Peter Berg’s Wonderland and Nine Days, directed by
Edson Oda. Duke is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson.