Dustin Hoffman to star in HBO pilot 'Luck'

Horseracing drama marks actor's first major TV series role

Dustin Hoffman is headed to television.

In his first major TV series gig, the Oscar winner has signed to topline HBO's horseracing drama pilot "Luck," from Michael Mann and David Milch.

The project is described as a provocative look at the worlds of horseracing and gambling told through a diverse group of characters surrounding a racetrack.

It centers on an intelligent, intuitive tough man (Hoffman) who always has been involved with gambling, from bookmaking and money laundering to casino operations.

Recently released from prison after four years, he teams with Gus Economou (Dennis Farina), his longtime chauffeur and muscle, to craft a complex plan involving the track. They recruit Turo Escalante (John Ortiz), a successful trainer with a sordid reputation.

Milch wrote the pilot, which Mann is directing. Both are executive producing with Carolyn Strauss and "The Sopranos" alum Henry Bronchtein.

The pilot is eyeing a spring production start in Los Angeles.

Landing Hoffman is a major coup for HBO as the "Tootsie" actor has not done TV in more than 40 years, since his breakthrough role in the 1967 feature "The Graduate." He won an Emmy in 1986 for CBS' adaptation of the 1984 Broadway production of "Death of Salesman," in which he played the lead.

The WME-repped Hoffman, a best actor Oscar winner for "Rain Man" and "Kramer vs. Kramer," next stars opposite Paul Giamatti in "Barney's Version."