EXCLUSIVE: Brett Cullen (Joker) will play former NBA star and Lakers head coach Bill Sharman, and Lola Kirke (Mozart in the Jungle) will portray Jerry West’s wife Karen in Adam McKay’s Los Angeles Lakers HBO drama series, based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. McKay’s Hyperobject Industries is producing.
Written by Max Borenstein, the fast-break series 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.
Cullen’s Bill Sharman is the ultimate renaissance man: a collegiate basketball champion and four-time NBA champion, with a short stint as a Major League Baseball player, a career as one of the most influential NBA coaches of all time, and a third career as legendary GM of the Lakers. He even once punched a shark in the face, while on vacation in Acapulco. But as he begins to feel his age and lose his voice, he must consider his future – and the future of the team he loves.
Kirke’s Karen West might be married to one of basketball’s biggest legends, but she sees the real Jerry West – and loves him for who he is, not his many accolades.
Cullen and Kirke join previously announced cast Sarah Ramos as Cheryl Pistono, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, Michael Chiklis as Red Auerbach, Sally Field as Jessie Buss, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gaby Hoffmann as Claire Rothman, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, DeVaughn Nixon as Norm Nixon, Molly Gordon as Linda Zafrani, Rob Morgan as Earvin Johnson Sr., Spencer Garrett as Chick Hearn, Kirk Bovill as Donald Sterling, Delante Desouza as Michael Cooper, Stephen Adly Guirgis as Frank Mariani, Tamera Tomakili as Earletha “Cookie” Kelly, Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen and Bo Burnham as Larry Bird.
Borenstein executive produces the series with McKay, who directs the pilot, and Kevin Messick for Hyperobject Industries. Jim Hecht is co-writer of story and executive produces along with Jason Shuman, Scott Stephens and Rodney Barnes.
Cullen was most recently seen on the big screen in the iconic role of Thomas Wayne in Todd Phillip’s Joker. His previous roles include Barton Blaze in the 2007 feature adaptation of Marvel’s Ghost Rider and as a congressman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises. His recent TV credits include The Blacklist, True Detective and Narcos. He’s repped by Domain and Lovett Management.
Kirke is known for her starring role as Hailey Rutledge in Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. Other TV credits include The Leftovers and Law & Order: SVU. She’s repped by ICM and One Entertainment.