Spike Lee's Boxing Drama 'Da Brick' Casts Its Stars (Exclusive)

5:43 PM PST 08/31/2011 by Lacey Rose, Lesley Goldberg
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John Boyega

"Attack the Block's" John Boyega and "The Wire's" Julito McCullum join the HBO project from Lee and John Ridley.

Fresh off its pilot pick up, HBO has cast the lead and three supporting players in its Spike Lee boxing drama Da Brick.

The premium network has cast Attack the Block star John Boyega to play the project's titular character.

Boyega will play Donnie, who, after his release from juvenlie detention on his 18th birthday begins an exploration of what it means to be a man for himself and those around him.

Milauna Jemai (NCIS) will play Lynette, Donnie's mother, with him he reconnects with following a 14-month separation.

Julito McCullum (The Wire) will play Kevin, Donnie's best friend and the one person he can't leave behind, no matter how much he may want to.

Kamahl Naiqui Palmer (Gossip Girl) is set as Malik, the  moral center of Donnie's tight group of friends who is looking for direction between his middle-class upbringing and the harder realities of his environment.

Da Brick is described as a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in a supposedly post-racial America.

The project hails from Lee and L.A. Riots' John Ridley.

Former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Entourage creator Doug Ellin and his producing partner Jim Lefkowitz are attached as nonwriting executive producers, along with Tyson's wife, Lakiha Tyson. Azim Spicer is attached as a nonwriting co-executive producer.

Lee is set to direct with Ridley on board to write and serve as showrunner.

It will be set in Newark, N.J., which is often dubbed "Brick City."

Much as Entourage was inspired by producer Mark Wahlberg's life, Da Brick will reflect aspects of Tyson's upbringing. It marks the latest in a string of Hollywood projects for Tyson, who has turned up in the Hangover franchise as well as Animal Planet's Taking on Tyson. Last season, he added a cameo on Entourage to his resume.

 

 

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