Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and CBS’s hit series Ghosts star Utkarsh Ambudkar is getting a project he fully envisioned off the paper with Disney+. Ambudkar has managed to sell to the streamer a feature film he conceived, co-wrote, and is set to produce and co-star, as Deadline reports. World’s Best is a musical comedy in which a math kid decides to enter a rapping competition after he discovers his late father was a talented rap artist.
In order to bring the story to life, Ambudkar recruited the help of his long-time friend Jamie King, who wrote several episodes of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. The duo drew inspiration from Ambudkar’s performances in rap battles at New York’s Leopard Lounge. They also called in Grammy nominee and three-time Emmy winner Thomas Kail, who directed highly acclaimed Hamilton and Grease Live!, as well as music director and Oscar nominee Savan Kotecha (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga).
The cast of World’s Best will feature Manny Magnus as the mathlete and aspiring rapper. Magnus made his acting debut in Netflix’s Raising Dion and was recently in Prime Video’s I Want You Back. The kid’s mother will be played by Emmy nominee Punam Patel, who was in Ghosts with Ambudkar and recently starred in Special and Space Force.
In an official statement, Ambudkar spoke about the personal nature of the project and celebrated the opportunity of bringing on board people he immensely admires:
“Collaborating with Disney on a feature about a nuclear South Asian family with music at its heart means a lot to me personally. I can’t wait to bring ‘World’s Best’ to life with friends and colleagues I’ve known a long time, as well as people whose work is relatively new to me. After seeing his first feature, I knew Roshan Sethi could capture the intricacies, humor and energy of ‘World’s Best’. Manny Magnus is a special find. He’s been dancing and performing his own music since he was 6 years old. And I know firsthand that Punam Patel will bring laughs and warmth to the role of Priya, the matriarch. I hope ‘World’s Best’ will be super fun, both to make and watch.”
In the statement, Ambudkar refers to film director Roshan Sethi, who recently made a buzz in film festivals with his directorial debut, the cult romantic comedy 7 Days, which follows the confined routine of a newly-formed couple during the pandemic. Wildly eclectic, Sethi is also the co-creator of FOX’s medical series The Resident, which is currently airing Season 5.
Disney+ starts principal photography of World’s Best next month. The streamer is yet to reveal further details of the project, including a release window.
Check out the official synopsis below:
‘World’s Best’ follows 12-year-old Prem (Magnus) as he navigates life as a junior high kid in the high school math class. After his best friend Jerome abandons him for the popular group, Prem never feels more alone, despite the support of his mother Priya (Patel). But when Prem discovers that his late father Suresh (Ambudkar) was a great rapper, his new destiny is sealed. With renewed purpose (and some helpful, albeit imaginary, appearances from Suresh), Prem vows to break out of the mold of “math kid” and become the world’s best MC.