‘Rise’ Director Wanted to Direct a Film About Giannis Antetokounmpo Since His NBA Draft

rise director

Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s journey is a complex one. While he grew up in Greece, he has Nigerian roots through his parents that lived as undocumented immigrants in the country. So, finding a fitting director to tell that story must’ve been a long one and luckily they found a fitting choice in Nigerian director Akin Omotoso. During the official press conference, he revealed that he’s been hoping to tell this story ever since Antetokounmpo was drafted in the NBA.

In 2013, when Giannis was drafted, every year I’ll look at the draft and I’ll pick out who the African players are drafted. And when Giannis was drafted, I remember reading, you know, reading up a story and I was like, “If ever I was to make a film about basketball and life, it’ll be this gentleman’s story.

Akin Omotoso

He also went on to highlight that they found out about the project through a magazine, which led to him instantly inquiring his agent to give him a chance to just be in the room to talk bout potentially directing the film.

And by chance, like Dayo, you know, I picked up a magazine. And in the magazine, it said Disney was making a movie about their life. And I said to my agent, whatever you do, you got to get me in that room so that I tell Disney how I would make this film.

Akin Omotoso

He also highlighted that he kept that magazine by his bed until he would at least find out if someone else got the chance to direct the film. It seems that it was his way of showcasing his dedication to making his six-year dream true before fate would finally lead to him making it a reality. In a way, it’s fitting given the message of the film is about people being inspired to chase their dream.

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