Reason for Michael Shannon's HBO Lakers Show Exit Revealed in Report

Michael Shannon was originally tabbed to play Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss in the HBO series based on the NBA team. However, Shannon was replaced by John C. Reilly due to "creative differences," according to Deadline in 2019. This week, a new report by Matthew Belloni of Puck revealed the reason why Shannon was replaced. In August 2019, Shannon was announced to play Buss. However, as Belloni said, "Shannon tanked the read-through, so he was soon fired." Adam McKay, the co-creator of the series, which is called Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, replaced Shannon with Reilly, which was announced on Sept. 10. 

There are reports McKay cast Will Ferrell as Buss then "abruptly" replacing him with Reilly, who is Ferrell's best friend. But Belloni said that while Ferrell wanted to play Buss, he was never actually cast to play the role as the creative team didn't believe he didn't look like the Lakers owner. When Shannon was cast, Ferrell was said to be disappointed but understanding because Shannon is a different choice. However, Ferrell was "livid" not being an option when Shannon didn't pan out. Additionally, Ferell heard it from Reilly, not McKay. 

Ferrell and McKay were very close and have worked on several projects together. But they have since gone their separate ways, but McKay told Vanity Fair that he has attempted to contact Ferrell about the casting of the Lakers series. "I f— up on how I handled that [the casting]," McKay said per Deadline. "It's the old thing of keep your side of the street clean. I should have just done everything by the book."

The show takes a look at the Lakers in the 1980s when they won five championships. Reilly joins an ensemble cast that includes. Quincy Isaiah, Jason Clarke, Adrien Brody, Gaby Hoffman, Tracy Letts, Jason Segel, Julianne Nicholson, Hadley Robinson, Dr. Solomon Hughes, Tamera Tomakili, Brett Cullen, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Joey Brooks, Sarah Ramos, Spencer Garrett, Molly Gordon, DeVaughn Nixon, Delante Desouza, Jimel Atkins, Austin Aaron, Jon Young with Rob Morgan and Sally Field.   

Shannon, 47, has put together a long and successful career in TV and movies. For TV, Shannon has appeared on Boardwalk Empire and most recently Nine Perfect Strangers. On the movie side, Shannon has appeared in Groundhog Day, 8 Mile, Man of Steel, Elvis & Nixon and Knives Out