Winning Time Season 2 Director’s Take on Magic & Cookie’s Love Story

As the HBO sports drama Winning Time wraps up its second season, director Salli Richardson-Whitfield sheds light on the challenges and creative choices involved in portraying the Lakers’ love story. Especially the relationship between Magic Johnson and Cookie Kelly.

The season began with a celebration of the Lakers’ 1980 NBA World Championship win. However, concluded with their loss to the Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals. In between these defining moments, the audience witnessed the ups and downs of Magic Johnson’s personal life, including the discovery that he had fathered a child in 1981.

Truth and Authenticity

According to THR, Richardson-Whitfield, who is also an executive producer of the series, emphasized the importance of maintaining the truth and authenticity of this love story.

She stated, “I’m trying to protect that love that I think is true. We’re not going to cover up all the dirty spots, but I feel protective of that storyline.”

Addressing the series’ portrayal of historical events, she defended the show’s approach, highlighting that people who actually watch the show rather than judging it without seeing it would find it to be a great series. Nevertheless, news recently broke that HBO canceled the series after two seasons.

Richardson-Whitfield, who has a background in sports, drew on her knowledge of basketball when directing action-heavy scenes, ensuring authenticity in the portrayal of the sport.

Winning Time Season 2 Director's Take on Magic & Cookie's Love Story

Magic x Cookie

Regarding the relationship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, central to the series, Richardson-Whitfield explained that it was crucial to show their mutual respect and friendship, as this dynamic adds depth to their rivalry.

Winning Time has been notable for featuring female directors, including Richardson-Whitfield and Tanya Hamilton, both Black women. Richardson-Whitfield emphasized that it’s essential to see directors as storytellers and highlighted the need for more opportunities for people of color and women in the industry.

When asked about her transition from acting to directing, she credited director Ava DuVernay for recognizing her directing potential during the filming of “I Will Follow.” Richardson-Whitfield pointed out that her acting experience served as a valuable training ground for her directing career.

She also shared her journey in gaining confidence as a director, asserting herself on set, and making sure her vision is realized.

While the future of Winning Time post-Season 2 remains uncertain, Richardson-Whitfield expressed her desire for at least one more season to see the Lakers triumph over the Celtics, emphasizing the show’s quality and universal appeal, even beyond basketball fans.

In a heartfelt conversation, Salli Richardson-Whitfield offered insights into the creative process and challenges of depicting the Lakers’ love story in Winning Time Season 2.

Joanne Wells

Joanne Wells is a media journalist for ScreenNearYou. She reports on the inside conversations in Hollywood. Also, she loves pizza!

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