Back in 2019, Disney announced that it was working on a Disney+ original movie about Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, his family and his journey to becoming an NBA icon. And ... that was about all we knew – no cast, no release date, not even a name.
That is, until today when Disney announced some fresh details about the future streaming smash and official movie of Milwaukee.
Once under the working title "Greek Freak," the sports biopic is now titled "Rise" and is expected to hit the Mouse House's streaming service sometime in 2022.
Family. Dedication. Devotion.
Rise, a #DisneyPlus Original Movie, based on the real life experiences of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his family, will debut in 2022. #DisneyRise pic.twitter.com/CpbgbKe7qT — Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 20, 2021
Sure, the name "Rise" is a little more generic than some other options – but the Antetokounmpos' story being told in the film is anything but run-of-the-mill or cliche, tracing the immigrant family's path from selling trinkets on the streets of Greece to support themselves and stay afloat to watching Giannis become a first-round draft pick, one-of-a-kind all-star, beloved hero to a small-market city, two-time MVP and (*spoiler alert*) NBA friggin' champion alongside his brother Thanasis.
"I am thrilled and honored that Disney+ is bringing my family’s story to people all over the world," said Giannis Antetokounmpo, in a statement. "My hope is that it will inspire those in similar circumstances to keep the faith, stay true to their goals and not to give up on striving for a better life."
The movie is directed by Akin Omotoso, whose breakthrough 2016 South African crime drama "Vaya" is currently available on Netflix through Oct. 31, and written by Aresh Amel (the biopics "Grace of Monaco" and "A Private War"). Newcomer Uche Agada will play Giannis alongside his real-life brother and fellow big-screen fresh face Ral, playing Thanasis.
Jaden Osimuwa and Elijah Sholanke will play Kostas and Alexandros Antetokounmpo, respectively, while Yetide Badaki (Chi Chi from "This Is Us"; "American Gods") will portray Giannis' mother Veronica and Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh in "The Hunger Games"; the recent crime comedy "Queenpins") will play his late father Charles.
Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates on "Rise" (like an ACTUAL release date) – and in the meantime, read this piece for some early insight into Giannis' origin story in all its inspirational, remarkable detail. And click here to happily remind yourself of how the movie's going to gloriously end.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.