The Giannis Antetokounmpo movie at Disney is taking shape, with Variety learning exclusively that the film has found three of its leads.
Newcomer Uche Agada will star as the NBA great in the film, which is titled “Greek Freak” in honor of the nickname Antetokounmpo earned for his otherworldly basketball skills. 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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The film is being developed by The Walt Disney Studios for streamer Disney Plus. It was first announced as being in development back in 2019. The live-action film is inspired by the true story of Antetokounmpo’s life and family. Arash Amel is attached to write with Akin Omotoso directing. Antetokounmpo will executive produce, while Bernie Goldmann will produce. Production will begin later this year in both Greece and the U.S.
The role will mark Agada’s onscreen debut. He auditioned after seeing a screengrab on Instagram of an announcement about the open casting call from Antetokounmpo’s Twitter.
Badaki’s recent credits include playing Bilquis in all three seasons of the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” as well as a role on NBC’s hit drama series “This Is Us.” She has also starred in features such as “The Long Shadow,” “What We Found,” and “Chasing the Rain.” She is repped by Innovative Artists.
Okeniyi is also an NBC alum, having previously starred in the network’s cop drama series “Shades of Blue.” Elsewhere on TV, he appeared in the first season of the Apple drama “See” opposite Jason Momoa. He has starred in a number of features as well, including “The Hunger Games,” “Terminator Genisys,” “Runner Runner,” and “The Spectacular Now.” He is repped by UTA, Cultivate Entertainment, and McKuin Frankel Whitehead LLP.
Born to Nigerian immigrants in Greece, Antetokounmpo started out playing basketball in Europe before moving to the U.S. in 2013 to play for the Milwaukee Bucks. He quickly established himself as a major star on the team, and has since been named a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a five-time All Star, and NBA Defensive Player of the Year, among other accolades. He signed a five-year contract extension with the Bucks in December that is reportedly valued at $228 million.
(Pictured, from left to right: Uche Agada, Yetide Badaki, Dayo Okeniyi)
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