HBO’s L.A. Lakers drama series adds Bo Burnham as Larry Bird
Following the recent addition of Michael Chiklis as former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach, Deadline brings word that Bo Burnham (Promising Young Woman) has been cast to join Adam McKay’s upcoming Los Angeles Lakers drama series for HBO. Burnham is set to portray the role of another Boston Celtics icon, Larry Bird, who was a prominent figure during the famed 1980s rivalry between the Lakers and the Celtics. The legendary MVP played for the Celtics for 13 seasons and had led them to win three championships of out five NBA finals.
UPDATE MARCH 25 3:17 p.m. EST: Within an hour of Burnham joining the cast of the HBO series, Variety has also brought word that Jason Segel (Dispatches from Elsewhere) has signed on to star as Paul Westhead, who served as assistant coach for the LA team in 1979 then as head coach from 1979-81. The NBA World Champion winner is described as “a Shakespeare professor who leaves grading papers behind to be the assistant coach of the Lakers” and goes into a “drama straight off the Bard’s page (of which he is fond of quoting)“.
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, the series will chronicle the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties, in what came to be called the Showtime Era.
The series also stars Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Sally Field as Jessie 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, and Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen.
The untitled Lakers series is being written and executive produced by Max Borenstein (The Terror, Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla vs. Kong), with Oscar winner Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice) having directed the pilot and executive producing through Hyperobject Industries alongside the label’s Kevin Messick, Jason Shuman, story co-writer Jim Hecht, Scott Stephens and Rodney Barnes.
This marks Burnham’s first major TV project after eight years since starring in MTV’s Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous. Following that, he went on to appear in sketch comedy shows such as Key & Peele, and Kroll Show. He gained critical acclaimed in 2018 for his feature directorial debut Eighth Grade which won him a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing — First Time Feature Film.