Real-life brothers talk about playing Giannis, Thanasis in ‘Rise’

The actors playing Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis in a new Disney + movie have almost as improbable an origin story as the Milwaukee Bucks stars they portray.

Real-life brothers Uche Agada and Ral Agada had never acted, in anything, before they were cast as the two-time NBA MVP and his older brother, respectively, in “Rise,” the inspirational sports drama making its debut on Disney’s streaming service June 24.

It started, like many modern-day journeys do, on social media.

Specifically, a tweet from Giannis Antetokounmpo saying Disney was looking for someone to play him onscreen.

Ral Agada as Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Uche Agada as Giannis in

“I was on Instagram and I saw a screenshot of Giannis ‘tweet, and I said,’ You never know – what’s the worst that could happen? They just don’t reach back out to me. ‘ It’s not anything crazy, “Uche Agada recalled in a Zoom interview with his brother, Ral.” So I just auditioned, sent in a self-tape, a couple months later I had a callback with the director, and then a second callback.

“And then they asked me if I had an older brother.”

Uche, 20, did. But Ral, his 22-year-old brother, wasn’t so sure. He didn’t think the audition tape he was trying to make was any good and was going to give up on it.

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