Having negotiated the treacherous waters of getting approval for his pilot episode, Spike Lee has now started casting a new boxing drama that he is producing and directing for HBO. Set in Newark, New Jersey, Da Brick is all about a young man who is released from juvenile detention on his 18th birthday and tries to find himself and his place amidst those around him.

That 18 year old, Donnie, will be played by John Boyega, hot-as-you-like off the back of his charismatic performance as Moses in Attack the Block, which after great reviews in the UK is starting to get real word-of-mouth traction in the US as well. Also cast are Milauna Jemai (FlashForward) as Donnie’s mother and Julito McCullum (The Wire’s Namond Brice) as his best friend Kevin.

Mike Tyson is on board as an executive producer, with the show said to be drawing on elements of his upbringing and John Ridley will be writing the series.

Thanks to THR.