Disney is known as the home of the most inspiring and heartwarming media. The next project from the studio is Rise, a true story of a family that produced not one but three NBA Champions. The story follows the Antetokounmpo family, starring Uche Agada, Ral Agada, and Jaden Osimuwa with Elijah Shomanke, Yetide Badaki, and Dayo Okeniyi in supporting roles. 

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(L-R): Ral Agada as Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Dayo Okeniyi as Charles Antetokounmpo, and Uche Agada as Giannis Antetokounmpo in Disney’s live-action RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Patrick Redmond. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to attend the Rise virtual press conference which included the cast, writer, director, producer and the family the story was inspired by. During the press conference, actors Uche Agada and Ral Agada discussed their feelings on being brothers casted as brothers in Rise

Rise: Agada Brothers on Playing The...
Rise: Agada Brothers on Playing The Antetokounmpo Brothers

VIDEO: Asher Freidberg

Uche Agada’s Casting

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Yetide Badaki as Vera, Ral Agada as Thanasis, Elijah Sholanke as Alexandros, Uche Agada as Giannis, Dayo Okeniyi as Charles, and Jaden Osimuwa as Kostas in RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Patrick Redmond. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Uche Agada shared how he initially got to play the role of Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“I was just layin’ in bed one day and I was goin’ on Instagram. And I see a screenshot of a tweet that Giannis put out saying that Disney’s making a movie about his life and his family’s life and they’re looking for someone to play him and his brothers,” he explained. “So, I just clicked on a link and I just send a video, just talking about myself. And then, I sent in a video. A few months later, I got a call back. And for me, I was never an actor prior to this, so this was very weird for me.

“So, when it said callback with a director of a movie, in my mind, I’m like, yo, that’s crazy. But I did that callback and did another callback. And eventually they told me I got the part, which is absolutely incredible.”

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The Agada Family’s good fortune would not end there as told by Uche:

“And then, couple weeks later, they asked me if I had any siblings and I said I had an older brother,”

Ral Agada’s Casting

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(L-R): Ral Agada as Thanasis and Uche Agada as Giannis in Disney’s live-action RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Uche shared this with his brother Ral:

“I was just layin’ in bed one day and I was going on Instagram. And I see a screenshot of a tweet that Giannis put out saying that Disney’s making a movie about his life and his family’s life and they’re looking for someone to play him and his brothers.

So, I just clicked on a link and I just send a video, just talking about myself. And then, I sent in a video. A few months later, I got a call back. And for me, I was never an actor prior to this, so this was very weird for me. So, when it said callback with a director of a movie, in my mind, I’m like, yo, that’s crazy. But I did that callback and did another callback. And eventually they told me I got the part, which is absolutely incredible.

I was just layin’ in bed one day and I was goin’ on Instagram. And I see a screenshot of a tweet that Giannis put out saying that Disney’s making a movie about his life and his family’s life and they’re looking for someone to play him and his brothers.

I mean, like, I mean, I just didn’t think that’s how things worked…

Anyways, it’s insane. So, I was like, “Of course, yeah, I’ll try out. Why not?” So, I sent in a tape and honestly, I felt like that tape was awful. Like…So, I go on the court, put in some clips, and then they asked me to do a chemistry read with my brother. I’m like, ‘Hm, all right.’ Cause he is my brother. It shouldn’t be hard to act like that. So, we send it in and then right after Randy Hillard tells me, ‘All right, so you and your brother are gonna go to Greece and shoot this movie all summer.’ It was insane.”

While not typical in the film industry, allowing The Agada Brothers to play brothers gives them a certain connection and dynamic that can’t be replicated. With their chemistry read leading to their eventual casting, the energy between the two must be magical on-screen.

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This kind of casting fits well for the type of story that Rise is; one of defying expectations and proving family can conquer all.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Approves

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A scene still from Disney’s live-action RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This casting was approved by Giannis Antetokounmpo himself. Here is what the NBA superstar had to say:

“Everybody that played our family, they did an unbelievable job,” Giannis said. “We feel like they’re our family now and they’re a part of us.”

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Rise will be streaming on Disney+ June 24th, 2022. Are you excited to see The Agada Brothers play The Antetokounmpo Brothers? Let us know in the comments and on our Twitter!

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