Dustin Hoffman casts his ‘Luck’ with Milch

Dustin Hoffman is toplining the new David Milch series “Luck.”

Two-time Academy Award winner has been cast in the HBO skein that centers on several eclectic personalities who ply their trade on the horseracing circuit. Hoffman will portray Ace Bernstein, a man in his late 60s just released from four years in prison who’s autodidact, intelligent, and deeply involved in gambling.

Last week, Dennis Farina was cast in the series as Bernstein’s driver and companion, Gus Economou. He admires Bernstein’s intellect and is happy to bask in the reflected glory of his boss to whom he is devoted. A physically imposing man who is actually quite gentle, Economou houses a dormant volatility that resides within him.

Also, John Ortiz is set to play Turo Escalante, a middle-aged Peruvian trainer. According to a recent interview Milch had with Daily Racing Form, character is loosely based on real-life trainer Julio Canani, who has been on the Southern California racing circuit for decades and has trained three Breeders’ Cup-winning horses.

“Luck” is the third series Milch has created for HBO. He previously was exec producer of Western epic “Deadwood” and surf noir skein “John From Cincinnati.”

Michael Mann, who is directing the pilot, will also exec produce along with former HBO programming topper Carolyn Strauss and Milch. Henry Bronchtein (“The Sopranos”) is co-exec producer.

While Hoffman has won two Oscars (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Rain Man”) and has spent much of his career on the bigscreen, he’s also ventured into television as well. He won an Emmy in 1986 for his performance in the telepic “Death of a Salesman,” based on the Arthur Miller play.

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