Former North Texas actor plays young Giannis in new Disney + film

Former Little Elm child actor McColm Cephas Jr. is building quite the resume since moving to Los Angeles with his family four years ago.

The 12-year-old appears in Michael Bay’s Ambulance starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He also plays the young “Greek Freak” in Risea forthcoming Disney + biopic about NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

McColm is the son of a former professional soccer player from Liberia. He says his mom “played a huge part” in helping him score his latest role.

McColm Cephas Jr. plays the young Giannis Antetokounmpo in a forthcoming Disney + film about the NBA superstar.(Courtesy Cephas family)

McColm’s credits also include the CW Network’s All American, where he plays Young Billy. He also appears on FX’s Snowfalland in a new show for Netflix called On The Vergeaccording to IMDb.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was your experience like shooting Ambulance?

It was phenomenal. Mr. Bay shoots really fast and he allowed me to be creative with my character Young Will.

I got to audition for the role because my agent Alysa Brennan submitted my information to the casting director Denise Chamian. My mom played a huge part in helping me be authentic during my self-tape. I found out I was pinned for the job after submitting my self-tape, but it took a couple of months before I knew I booked the role.

What do you like best about being an actor?

The best thing about being an actor is having the opportunity to build the character with my mom. I also love being being on set and getting snacks from crafty [craft services].

Do you have any tips for young actors on how to break into the business?

I would tell a young actor to take acting classes so they can get better at their craft. They should also find a SAG agent in their local hometown to represent them. This is the best way I believe a young actor should break into the business of acting.

Can you tell us about your role in the new movie Rise?

It’s based on the lives of the Antetokounmpo family. I play young Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka “The Greek Freak.” I spent almost three months filming in Greece the summer of 2021. I had to learn how to speak with a Greek accent. The movie is very inspiring and I can’t wait for the world to see it.

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