This is an unexpected, and interesting choice.
John Boyega has been cast to play Jesse Owens in a biopic titled Race, from Forecast Pictures and ID+.
The companys’ execs – Jean Charles Levy and Luc Dayan – announced the news today.
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); nor is it the Antoine Fuqua/Disney Jesse Owens project, based on ESPN anchor Jeremy Schaap’s book, Triumph – making it the 3rd Jesse Owens project in development.
Which will make it to the finish line first?
Race will be directed by Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers), from a script penned by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel.
The project, according to Variety, will…
… focus on how Owens, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by winning a record four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay. Owens’ victories are considered among the greatest atlhetic feats of all time.
Shooting is set to begin on the German-Canadian co-production in May in Berlin and Montreal, with a spring 2015 release planned.
It’s a project that has the backing of the Jesse Owens Foundation, and the Jesse Owens Trust, so it shouldn’t face the same kind of hurdles that other recent biopics have had to wrestle.
Up next for Boyega is his starring role in Malik Vitthal’s drama Imperial Dreams, which is making its premiere at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival.
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.