Disney Plus announces Giannis Antetokounmpo biopic ‘Rise’

Rise Disney Plus
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

It must be good to be Giannis Antetokounmpo right now. He is a two-time NBA MVP, led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 2021 NBA championship, opened up the new season with a win against the Brooklyn Nets and now has a movie based on his life set to premiere on Disney Plus in 2022. The streaming service officially announced the film via a press release.

Titled Rise, the film is based on the real life story of Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas Antetokounmpo, who are the first trio of brothers to win an NBA championship (Giannis and Thanasis with the Bucks, Kostas with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020). Rise will tell the story of how the Antetokounmpo family, who have Nigerian heritage and Greek nationality, used vision, determination and faith to lift them out of obscurity and to the heights of NBA superstardom.

Uche Agada and Ral Agada, real-life brothers, will play Giannis and Thanasis, respectively, while Jaden Osimuwa and Elijah Shomanke are set for the roles of Kostas and fourth Antetokounmpo brother Alex. Dayo Okeniyi and Yetide Badaki are playing the Antetokounmpo parents, Charles and Vera. Manish Dayal, Taylor Nichols, Maximiliano Hernandez, Eddie Cahill, Pilar Holland and McColm Kona Cephas Jr. also star.

Akin Omotoso is directing, with Giannis Antetokounmpo onboard as an executive producer.

“I am thrilled and honored that Disney Plus is bringing my family’s story to people all over the world,” said Antetokounmpo. “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.”

Disney Plus did not provide any information on when Rise may debut on the streaming service.

The Mouse House has long been a home for inspirational true sports story, having made Remember the Titans, The Rookie, Miracle, Queen of Katwe and Safety, which was also a Disney Plus original movie.

Rise will be a Disney Plus exclusive, so a subscription to the service will be required to watch it. Disney Plus is priced at a monthly fee of $7.99, but consumers can sign up for a full year for $79.99. There is also a Disney Bundle option that combines Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu for $13.99 per month. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.