O’Shea Jackson Jr. Takes Over Lead Role in Apple Basketball Drama ‘Swagger’ (EXCLUSIVE)

O’Shea Jackson is now set to star in the Apple drama series “Swagger,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Jackson takes over the role from Winston Duke. It was announced that Duke would star in the series back in October, but an individual with knowledge of the situation says he suffered an injury on set, which forced him to drop out of the show.

“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.”

Inspired by NBA champion Kevin Durant’s youth basketball experiences, “Swagger” explores the world of youth basketball, and the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption. Jackson will star as Ike, a youth basketball coach and former star player.

“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.”

Sources say that Jackson has been highly interested in the series since it was in first in the works and had been offered a different role during the casting process that he was unable to accept at the time it was offered.

The role will be one of Jackson’s first regular television roles in his burgeoning career. He was recently announced as a series lead in the Quibi series “The Now.” His first onscreen credit was in the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton,” which is based on the rise of the hip hop supergroup NWA. Jackson portrayed his own father, best known to fans as Ice Cube, in the film. Since then, he has gone on to star in films like the recently released “Just Mercy” as well as “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and “Den of Thieves.”

He is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.

“Swagger” will be written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood, who will also serve as executive producer and showrunner. Brian Grazer will executive produce for Imagine Television Studios along with Durant and Thirty Five Ventures’ Rich Kleiman. The series hails from Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios. James Seidman will oversee the project for Imagine. Sarah Flynn will serve as executive for Thirty Five Ventures.

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