Apple TV+ basketball series forced to sub out lead actor

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O'Shea Jackson Jr. is bringing his swagger to Apple TV+ basketball show,
O'Shea Jackson Jr. is bringing his swagger to Apple TV+.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Apple’s upcoming TV series about the life of young basketball players, Swagger, is making a late substitution with its leading actor.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. has been tapped to fill in as the leading actor for Duke Winston who had to drop out of the project. Winston was named as the star of the show back in October but reportedly suffered a serious injury on set, forcing the show to find a new lead.

Swagger is being written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood. The series is inspired by the real-life events of NBA superstar Kevin Durrant. Brian Gazer, who helped produce another hit sports TV show called Friday Night Lights, is one of the show’s executive producers.

Swagger‘s new star

Jackson is most popularly known for his role in the 2015 movie Straight Outta Compton where he played his father, Ice Cube. Since then Jackson has been seen in Just Mercy, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Den of Thieves. Variety‘s sources say Jackson was very interested in Swagger when it was first in development. He was offered a different role in the series but couldn’t take the gig at the time.

“I’m thrilled to be involved with such a profound and impactful project that stands for family, explores the development and growth of today’s youth, involves the game of basketball, and most importantly addresses such key social issues which are tackled throughout the series,” said Jackson. “‘Swagger’ is an opportunity to explore a fresh, multi-dimensional character under the guidance of an amazing director like Reggie Rock and his team on a daily basis.”

Duke, best known for his roles in Marvel’s Blank Panther and the Jordan Peele’s suspense thriller Us, can next be seen in the movie Nine Days. The film recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Thank you to Imagine, CBS and Apple TV for the opportunity to have collaborated on this project,” said Duke. “As I work toward a full recovery in the coming months, I look forward to joining everyone on future endeavors. Congratulations to O’Shea – I have no doubt that he’ll shine in this role.”