Jeanie Buss sees Tom Selleck in the role of Phil Jackson. "Tom is
tall, good-looking, and he was an athlete," says Buss. "I think
he'd be perfect." Jackson isn't so sure. "Tim Robbins maybe," he
says, with some measure of chagrin. "He's an intellectual. Or so
The pilot script for the as yet untitled dramatic series about
the life of Buss is being polished by Audrey Wells, who adapted
and directed Under the Tuscan Sun, and hasn't been delivered to
NBC. But already there's been much speculation about casting,
which is good in Hollywood--the more buzz the better.
One of the leading candidates to play the Buss role is Kristin
Davis from Sex and the City. Another possibility is Heather
Locklear, a courtside regular at the Staples Center. NBA
Entertainment has signed on as a coproducer, raising the obvious
question about whether it will attempt to airbrush anything
controversial (as the NFL wishes it could with ESPN's
Playmakers). Buss isn't worried. "I think [commissioner] David
Stern is savvy enough to want a product that is interesting but
doesn't cross the line of integrity," she says. "And we gain so
much by using real team names, real logos, real arenas."
But not real Lakers--the characters will not include Kobe Bryant
and Shaquille O'Neal. If the network did want to cast players,
Los Angeles forward Rick Fox is an experienced thespian (he was
terrific in HBO's Oz) and Shaq was a so-called "genie with an
attitude" in Kazaam (though no one suggested he give up his day
job). The ideal supporting cast would be easy to imagine. For
starters try Steven (Law & Order) Hill as the commish, Jon Voight
as the Lakers' owner and James Woods as the ubiquitous TV
interviewer especially tight with one of the stars.
The latest word on Wells's script is that it begins with the Buss
character in bed with a man after what was evidently a night of
bliss. The woman is thinking about how this man could be Mr.
Right until he spoils the moment by asking for "a couple of floor
seats" for that night's game. "That didn't literally happen to
me," says Buss, "but I'm familiar with the situation." The plan
is for the Jackson character to arrive later, replacing an old
school coach, and for the Buss-Jackson relationship to blossom
slowly, as it did in real life.
Buss says the show wouldn't include a re-creation of a Lakers
season, but the rich tension between the team's two stars would
be written in, and certainly the Jackson character would have to
deal with it. That's a job for an intellectual--or so we
WHO MIGHT PLAY JEANIE?
Kristin Davis or Heather Locklear
WHO MIGHT PLAY PHIL?
Tom Selleck or Tim Robbins