How A Ben Affleck Movie Influenced Disney+’s Rise, According To Director Akin Omotoso

Ben Affleck and Brandon Wilson in The Way Back

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)


Though the Nigerian filmmaker did want to inject a level of realism into the Antetokounmpos’ sports biopic, he also wanted to make space for a bit of movie magic at times. He went on to explain during our conversation that he was aiming to make Rise both “realistic” and “cinematic”: 

I really wanted to get the sense that yes, you’re watching basketball, but it’s also a movie. So I also felt like you needed to use cinematic… Don’t be afraid to take it into the ‘not real.’ You know what I mean? Because you know, it’s a film. So at the same time, you just want to say, ‘Hey, look, it’s also a film.’ So film allows us to do certain things. And I wasn’t afraid of pushing those boundaries, where I would say to people, ‘Listen, in a real game, this shot is probably not realistic. But in a movie, it’s realistic.’


When it comes to movies like these, one does want to be as authentic as possible, there are certainly moments where extraordinary things happen purely for entertainment purposes. I mean, one can look no further than Happy Gilmore or some of the Rocky movies to find scenes that aren’t entirely feasible. Yet that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) take away from one’s enjoyment of said flicks.

Now that Akin Omotoso has gotten his feet wet with Rise, I could definitely see him taking on another basketball movie somewhere down the line. And should he do so, I hope he’ll continue to utilize the talents of people like Aimee McDaniel, who can help him draw the cinematic line between what’s real and what isn’t.

Rise is now streaming (opens in new tab) among some of the best movies on Disney+. Be sure to check out CinemaBlend’s schedule of upcoming movie releases to see what else is coming your way this year.



Read also