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Dustin Hoffman appears in a scene from the HBO comedy Luck. - Provided courtesy of HBO

Dustin Hoffman scores first recurring TV role in HBO's 'Luck'

Get more: TV, Dustin Hoffman
01/27/2012 by Corinne Heller

Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte headed out to the racetracks for their new HBO series, "Luck."

The drama marks Hoffman's first recurring role in a television series and is set to debut on January 29. The series is based on "NYPD Blue" and "Deadwood" screenwriter and producer David Milch's experience gambling and accompanying his father to a Sarasota Springs, NY racetrack from the tender age of 6.

Milch told the Washington Post that since he was too young to gamble, his father had him put bets through a waiter at the racetrack. His fascination with the world led to a gambling addiction and owning two Breeder's Cup champions.

Hoffman stars as the mobster Chester "Ace" Bernstein, who has just been released after three years in prison. Nolte will portray Walter Smith, a former trainer who now owns what he hopes will be a winning horse.

"I have not had this experience before," Hoffman told the Post. "You can't get a shot at doing your best work in the studio system. They can get involved in kind of a quasi-creative way, but they buck heads with people they shouldn't be bucking heads with."

The series also stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick and Jill Hennessy.

The nine-episode first season of "Luck" was filmed at the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, Calif. "Heat" director Michael Mann helmed the pilot, which Milch wrote.

"We were able to get where you never can get," Mann told the Washington Post. "We're used to seeing animals sprint but they're rabbits, they're not 1,400 pounds. A really athletic horse with not much body fat moving that fast, you don't really see things that can move that fast. That informed some of the shots."

"Luck" also looks at the seedier side of horse racing and the type of characters who spend time in the stables and stands.

HBO's most successful shows include "True Blood," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones." The cable network will debut six new programs this year, including "Luck."

The network recently canceled the shows "Hung," "Bored to Death" and "How to Make It In America," and renewed "Enlightened," a new series that premiered in October and stars Laura Dern as a woman who undergoes a personal awakening after suffering a breakdown. Dern won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy for the role at the Golden Globe Awards.

Hoffman recently reprised his role as Shifu in the 3D animated film, "Kung Fu Panda 2." He also recently appeared in "Little Fockers," a sequel to "Meet the Fockers" and "Meet the Parents."

Nolte recently starred in the movie "Warrior" with "Dark Knight Rises" star Tom Hardy and "Once Upon A Time" actress Jennifer Morrison.

"Luck" is set to premiere on HBO on Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. ET. Watch a preview below.

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