John C. Reilly has admitted that he thought his career was dead in the water before he landed a role in HBO‘s new LA Lakers drama.
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The actor is set to portray former Lakers owner Jerry Buss in the forthcoming basketball drama Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty, which is due out next month.
Reilly was the third choice for the role in the Adam McKay drama after Will Ferrell and Michael Shannon dropped out.
“I’d been sitting at my kitchen table, thinking, ‘Man, I’m dead in the water, all this work, 80 movies, and I got nothing going on,’ when I got the text from Adam,” Reilly told The Hollywood Reporter.
He landed the part after Ferrell fell out with his longstanding collaborator McKay over the role.
“It ended not well,” McKay said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair after Ferrell, a die hard fan of the team, had his heart set on playing Buss.
McKay thought that Ferrell’s Step Brothers co-star Reilly would be better suited for the role.
“Ferrell just doesn’t look like Jerry Buss, and he’s not that vibe of a Jerry Buss,” added McKay. “And there were some people involved who were like, ‘We love Ferrell, he’s a genius, but we can’t see him doing it.’ It was a bit of a hard discussion.”
To make things worse, McKay didn’t personally notify Ferrell of the choice. Instead, Reilly was the one to make the call. “I fucked up on how I handled that,” McKay added.
Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty is out in the US on HBO Max on March 6.
It is due to land in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW but an official release date has not yet been set.