Usually, Hollywood writers are huddled around conference tables trying to write magical endings to films that will stir audiences. But this time, writers for the Disney biopic about the life of Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t need to fret about their ending.
Antetokounmpo gave them the ending they needed– and it isn’t even fantasy. When he led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years, scoring 50 points in a series-clinching win over the Phoenix Suns, it was the perfect ending to the film, entitled Greek Freak, that the Hollywood entertainment giant is working on.
With filming set to take place this fall in the gritty neighborhood of Sepolia, the very streets Giannis sold trinkets and DVDs so his family could survive, the live-action feature film will be based on the extraordinary journey of Antetokounmpo and his family— from undocumented Nigerian immigrants living in Greece to the top of the National Basketball Association.
The original storyline of Giannis— winning back-to-back NBA MVPs in 2019 and 2020— made for a solid movie finish, but both seasons ended in disappointment with the Bucks knocked out of the playoffs. It probably wasn’t the ending Hollywood executives wanted for their rags to riches film.
But now, thanks to real life events, Disney gets its Hollywood ending with the 26-year-old Antetokounmpo holding the NBA’s ultimate prize.
The biopic is expected to start production later this year in Greece.
Antetokounmpo spread the word of a casting call on Twitter for actors to portray him and his brother Thanasis, who also plays for the Bucks (brothers Kostas and Alex play professionally in Europe).
Newcomer Uche Agada was cast in the role of a young Giannis. He auditioned after seeing the open casting call from Antetokounmpo on social media, according to Variety. Antetokounmpo will executive produce the movie, which is slated for streaming service Disney+.
In addition, Yetide Badaki is joining the film as Vera, Antetokounmpo’s mother, while Dayo Okeniyi will play Charles, his father.
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