It’s not the Jesse Owens biopic that Anthony Mackie has long been trying to make (he’s called it his dream project, although there hasn’t been any movement on it in ages, meaning it might be dead).
Disney has announced that it’s developing its own Jesse Owens project, based on ESPN anchor Jeremy Schaap’s book, Triumph, and has brought on Antoine Fuqua to direct, with David Seidler, the Oscar-winning writer of The King’s Speech, penning the screenplay adaptation.
Schaap’s book follows Jesse Owens at the Berlin games, transporting readers to Germany and tells the dramatic tale of Owens and his fellow athletes at the contest dubbed the “Nazi Olympics” in 1936 – a tense, exhilarating few weeks in sports history, when an African American son of sharecroppers won a staggering four gold medals and single-handedly demonstrated that Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy was a lie.
Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun of Producing are BermanBraun are producing, alongside Netter Films’ Gil Netter.
No word on casting yet, or whether Mackie is in any way involved, whether in front of or behind the camera.
Who would you cast as Owens? I’d go with an unknown.
Fuqua is coming off this year’s Olympus Has Fallen, and is currently in production on Sony’s The Equalizer big screen adaptation, with Denzel Washington starring.
By the way, Laurens Grant’s acclaimed 2011 Jesse Owens documentary, co-produced by Stanley Nelson – the team behind the Emmy-Award-winning documentary Freedom Riders – is available on home video.