Bo Burnham‘s burgeoning Hollywood career continues to grow. Having directed Eighth Grade and recently co-starred in Best Picture nominee Promising Young Woman, he’s now signed on to play NBA legend Larry Bird in HBO’s currently untitled series about the Showtime-era Los Angeles Lakers.
But didn’t Bird play for the Celtics? Yes indeed, but he and practically the whole of Boston were the Lakers’ fiercest rival at the time, so he’ll have a big presence in the show. This is fun casting because Burnham’s height is rarely featured in his comedy act or on screen, so this is the rare chance for him to embrace his lanky frame.
Burnham joins a cast that already includes John C. Reilly as Lakers owner Jerry Buss, the self-made millionaire who transformed the team into a basketball dynasty, sometimes at the expense of those closest to him, and two Jasons, Clarke and Segel, who will portray “cantankerous tortured genius of basketball” Jerry West and assistant coach Paul Westhead, respectively.
Oscar winners Adrien Brody and Sally Field are also a part of the strong cast, while newcomers Quincy Isaiah and Solomon Hughes will play NBA legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, respectively. Teammate Norm Nixon will be played by his own son, DeVaughn Nixon.
The series is based on Jeff Pearlman‘s non-fiction book Showtime, which chronicles the personal and professional lives of the Showtime-era Lakers, the team of the era both on and off the court. Adam McKay is directing the pilot and executive producing alongside Kevin Messick, writer Max Borenstein, and co-writer Jim Hecht.
Borenstein previously told Collider that the show is “a love letter to basketball” that will have a structural resemblance to Netflix’s The Crown. The success of last year’s Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance also likely influenced the show, and HBO’s decision to develop it.
The still-untitled series – which probably won’t be called Showtime to avoid confusion with HBO’s rival American network – is lining up to be catnip for basketball fans. But considering the impressive cast being put together – a cast that is reportedly expected to have someone sign on to play Jack Nicholson – it also has a great chance to appeal to those who don’t even follow the sport.