HOLLYWOOD -- In the new Disney+ movie "World's Best," we meet 12-year-old mathematics genius Prem Patel. He is starting to navigate the hardships of adolescence, and all Prem really wants is to be "cool" among his peers.
A family surprise just might make his dream come true. Prem discovers a secret about his deceased father: he was a famous rapper. That new bit of biographic info sets Prem on a new path to see if music and dance may be in his future... not just academics!
"World's Best" stars Utkarsh Ambudkar as the "ghostly" Dad... he also co-wrote the script, co-executive produced the film and co-wrote the original songs
He sees the movie as a "love story" for families.
"We want kids to look at their parents and go, 'Wow, they might be trying really hard. And maybe I should cut him some slack'. And we want parents to look at their kids and be like, 'maybe I can listen, with a little bit more intention to my child's passions and desires.' And instead of being afraid that they're gonna get hurt, try my best to cultivate that confidence and belief in them," said Ambudkar. "And it's hard to do. Parenting is no easy task.
Ambudkar says none of this would have worked without finding the right actor to play "Prem." Enter Manny Magnus.
"We wrote this 13-year old, 12-year old, young man who's supposed to have all this skill set. And up until that point, he didn't exist. And then Manny, thankfully just sort of materialized through the work that he's done and just crushed it," said Ambudkar.
Magnus even offered his big screen Dad a pointer or two when it came to learning cool dance moves.
"He kept me in check," said Ambudkar. "There was a lot of like, 'Hey, man, you're missing this. I need you to extend your leg. It's pas de bourrée, step ball change,' all that stuff. As much as I drilled him on rap, he drilled me on dance. We held each other accountable."
"World's Best" debuts on Disney+ on June 23.
Disney is the parents company of this ABC station.