One of the most consistently bankable stars in Hollywood, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has dabbled in everything from high-octane action (the Fast & Furious franchise) to family fare (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) to reality television (TNT’s The Hero). Now, premium cable channel HBO is getting in on the action by ordering a half-hour comedy called Ballers, which Johnson will both star in and executive-produce.
Ballers will follow the lives of a diverse assortment of current and former football players. Johnson stars as Spencer Strasmore, a retired athlete. The show will also star Omar Benson Miller as “affable” former athlete Charles; John David Washington as “highly competitive and highly spiritual” pro athlete Ricky; Rob Corddry as financial advisor Joe; Troy Garity as a top-of-the-line sports agent named Jason, Donovan Carter as Vernon, a pro athlete struggling to keep the focus on his family; Jazmyn Simon as Julie, the wife of a former athlete; Taylor Cole as Michaels, an ESPN reporter involved with Spencer; and LeToya Luckett as Tina, the widow of a recently deceased friend of Spencer’s.
Johnson’s fellow producers on the project include Mark Wahlberg (who recently co-starred with Johnson in Michael Bay’s crime comedy Pain & Gain), Wahlberg’s manager Steve Levinson (who came up with the show’s premise and wrote the script for the pilot), showrunner Even Reilly and Battleship director Peter Berg, who helmed the pilot.
HBO is bringing out Hollywood’s best and brightest for its upcoming comedy line-up, as the network also recently ordered The Brink, a half-hour comedy starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. They also axed both Family Tree and Hello Ladies not too long ago, two comedies with relatively unknown stars, so the network is clearly focused on more sure bets.
Ballers will enter production later this year and I already feel optimistic about the show’s chances, given Johnson’s massive popularity in recent years. I can’t imagine HBO passing up the opportunity to keep Johnson on its network for as long as he’s available, so Ballers‘ future looks pretty bright from here.
Tell us, does this series intrigue you? Or have there been too many sports dramas in recent years for Ballers to catch your eye?