Apple's new basketball drama, Swagger, has officially finally found its lead. Breakout star Winston Duke (Black Panther, Us) has just been cast in the new series from NBA superstar Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Ventures and Reggie Rock Bythewood.
Inspired by Durant's own experiences, Swagger delves into the competitive world of youth basketball, the players, their families and the coaches "who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption."
Duke is set to star as one of these coaches and former star players, Ike. This is the first big casting announcement to come out for the Apple TV Plus series as the show gears up to start filming this month. This comes as no surprise because Apple has been very tight lipped about their forthcoming streaming platform and its content, having only released a handful of trailers.
This isn't Duke's first time on the small screen. He once held a major recurring role on Person Of Interest on CBS and The Messengers. His career took off three years later, however, when he played T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) aka Black Panther's rival turned ally, M'Baku in the massively successful and record setting Black Panther. Duke reprised the Wakandan character with small appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. He took a sidestep out of superhero and into horror thriller to join Black Panther co-star Lupito Nyong'o for Jordan Peele's sophomore feature Us where he played dual roles Gabe Wilson and Abraham. Aside from Swagger, Duke will feature alongside Mark Wahlberg and Marc Maron in Peter Berg's Wonderland set for release in January. He also has fantasy drama Nine Days lined up for 2020.
Swagger is written and directed by Bythewood, who will also helm the series as showrunner. Bythewood's writing credits include the 2009 film Notorious which was based on the life and death of New York born legendary rapper Christopher Wallace better known as Notorious B.I.G. Bythewood also served as a writer on the series A Different World, New York Undercover and Players. He was most recently a creator on Fox's Shots Fired.
Bythewood's all set to tackle a world fellow executive producer, Durant, knows well. Durant is a two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warrior. Although he recently signed a new contract with the Brooklyn Nets, he ruptured his Achilles during the NBA Finals and is expected to miss most, possibly all, of the 2019-2020 season. He's a proven success off the court as well. In 2016, he founded Thirty Five Ventures with partner Rich Klein. The venture capital firm invests in early stage and start up companies, which in this bursting streaming world, seems to include television series as well.
Swagger is co-produced by Imagine TV Studios and CBS TV Studios with executive producers Bythewood, Durant, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo for Imagine TV and Kleiman for Thirty Five Ventures and Samantha Corbin Miller. The series is set for production this month, and we'll continue to report on details as Apple releases them. This news comes to us from Deadline