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Casting HBO’s new Lakers series ‘Showtime’

Who should star in the new HBO series “Showtime” by Adam McKay? We took a few guesses.

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HBO has ordered a pilot for a scripted drama series from Oscar winner Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short) titled “Showtime,” which will focus on the highs and lows of the legendary 1980s Los Angeles Lakers on and off the court, Deadline reported on Tuesday.

The series will be an adaptation of the nonfiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” by Jeff Pearlman. Production is set to begin this summer, but they have yet to cast anyone for the series.

It’s for that reason we’re doing our part here at Silver Screen and Roll to make life easier on the casting directors by offering suggestions as to who should play the stars of the film, like Magic Johnson, Pat Riley, Jerry Buss and others. There are a few things we ask our readers to take in mind before proceeding, though:

  1. Finding actors that are 6’9” or taller is really hard, so it’s going to take some movie magic to make these guys resemble the Showtime Lakers.
  2. The field is limited to the mainstream actors I, the author, know and most of the actors are older than the players were at the time.

That being said, the cast I still feel pretty good about the cast I’ve assembled, so let’s do this.

Magic Johnson: Chadwick Boseman

CinemaCon 2019 - The State of the Industry: Past, Present and Future and STXfilms Presentation Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for CinemaCon

Best known for his work in “Black Panther” and “Marshall,” Chadwick Boseman can bring the swagger he brought to his role as James Brown in “Get On Up” to Magic Johnson. It also doesn’t hurt that he a nice set of pearly whites like Johnson, who is known for his signature smile.

However, Johnson’s life wasn’t all glitz and glamor despite being the star point guard for the Lakers, and when it’s time for things to get serious, few people in the industry no how to turn it on the way Boseman does. Unless there’s someone that bears an uncanny resemblance to Johnson out there, Boseman is my pick.

Pat Riley: Christian Bale

91st Annual Academy Awards - Fan Arrivals Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Christian Bale has starred Adam McKay’s last two films, including “Vice,” which Bale received an Oscar nomination for his role in. Bale’s dedication to his craft has resulted in him taking several different physical forms over the years, but his most classic look is the clean-shaven, slicked back hair like Riley wore in the 80s.

If there’s anyone that can bring that unique mix of sternness and Hollywood attitude to Riley, it’s got to be Bale. If he’s already going through a drastic body transformation for his next role, they should peak Bradley Cooper’s interest.

Jerry Buss: Robert Downey Jr.

World Premiere Of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures “Avengers: Endgame” - Red Carpet Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

It’s going to be hard to find someone that can emulate Los Angeles like the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss did, but Robert Downey Jr. comes pretty close. He’s already shown he can play the billionaire bachelor role, and he’s roughly the same age Buss was during the Showtime era.

To be honest, though, do I really need to give you a reason to cast RDJ as Dr. Buss? He’s freaking Iron Man.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

WE Day California 2019 Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

I pray that I look as good as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does when I turn 72 years old. He looks almost identical to the way he did when he was running up and down the court in a Lakers uniform. Turning back the clock using CGI has become increasing popular in cinema over the years and Abdul-Jabbar would be a good candidate for that.

No, I’m not just saying that because I couldn’t find a skinny, convincingly seven-foot tall man to play him. How dare you?

If you have any more suggestions as to who should fill out the team, let us know in the comments below!

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.

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