The LeBron James biopic Shooting Stars has officially found its lead. On Friday, it was announced (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Marquis “Mookie” Cook has been cast as the young version of James in the film, which will adapt James and Buzz Bissinger’s 2009 book of the same name. Cook is a high-ranking high school basketball player at Compass Prep in Chandler, Arizona, and is already recruited to play for the University of Oregon. The ensemble cast of Shooting Stars was also announced, including Dermot Mulroney and Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin. Algee Smith, Wood Harris, Natalie Paul, Katlyn Nichol, Avery Wills, Scoot Henderson and Khalil Everage are also part of the film, which has reportedly begun filming this week in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.
Shooting Stars chronicled how James and his best friends in Akron formed a close-knit bond that sustained them first through a failed national championship tournament to winning a title by the end of high school. Along the way, there were plenty of tests, such as broken homes, jealousies, and even James’ own mega-success. McLaughlin is playing Dru Joyce III, a best friend and the son of the boys’ coach, Dru Joyce II (Harris). Smith will play Illya McGee, Wills will play Willie McGee, Henderson will portray Romeo Travis, Everage will play Sian Cotton, and Mulroney will play Coach Keith Dambrot. Paul will playing James’ mother, Gloria, while Nichol will play James wife, Savannah James.
“Was it insane for a high school basketball team to jet around the country?” James writes in Shooting Stars. “At the time I thought it was exciting, going to places I never ever thought I would get to see in my life when I was a scared lonely young boy. Now I believe it was excessive.”
The film is directed by Black-ish and ATL alum Chris Robinson, with a script from Frank E. Flowers, Juel Taylor, and Tony Rettenmaier. James is producing the project alongside his SpringHill teammates Maverick Carter, Jamal Henderson and Spencer Beighley.
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