Dwayne Johnson is headed to HBO as they have picked up his pilot Ballers for series. This will be Johnson’s first major series gig.
He will be executive producing the series with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Whalberg. Steve Levinson, Whalberg’s manager and producing partner, came up with the original idea the project is based on and wrote the pilot script.
Even Reilly will be the showrunner alongside Peter Berg, who also directed the pilot.
Ballers is about exploring the lives of a group of former and current football players. Johnson stars as Specner Strasmore, a retired athlete.
The rest of the cast includes Omar Beson Miller as Charles, an affable former pro athlete who is searching for his next career; Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete; Rob Corddry as Joe, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in; Troy Garity as Jason, a top-tier sports agent; Donovan Carter as Vernon, a deeply family-oriented pro athlete; Jazmyn Simon as Julie, wife of an ex-pro athlete; Taylor Cole as Michaels, an ESPN sideline reporter who is romantically involved with Spencer; and LeToya Luckett as Tina, widow to one of Spencer’s closest friends.
Production on Ballers will start later this year and comes on the hells of another series order, The Brink, which stars Jack Black and Tim Robbins.
HBO is claiming that both series are capable of attracting broader audiences unlike some of their other shows. Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black are big parts of that reason as both are recognizable movie stars.
Whalberg’s company, Closest to the Hole Productions, Levinson’s company, Levinsons’s Leverage Entertainment, and Johnsons’ s company, 7 Bucks Entertainment, are all producing Ballers alongside HBO.
Rob Weiss (Entourage) and Dany Garcia (Johnson’s Manager) will be executive producing alongside Johnson, Whalberg, Levinson, and Reilly. Hiram Garcia will be co-executive producing. Dave Levinson (Levinson’s father), Bret Slater, and Peter Sussman will all serve as producers alongside Karyn McKarthy (House of Cards).