By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 16, 2014 at 3:00PM
He was beautiful. And he was a huge global track star. Stephan James (upcoming "Selma") will play Olympic legend Jesse Owens in Stephen Hopkins' new biopic "Race," which has been acquired for U.S. release by Focus Features.
SNL star Jason Sudeikis ("We're the Millers") is joining Jeremy Irons ("Reversal of Fortune") in this true story, which begins principal photography on July 24th in Montreal and on location at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where the real-life hero faced off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy, winning a record-breaking four Olympic gold medals in 1936. Sudeikis stars as Owens’ obsessive Ohio State University coach, ex-track star Larry Snyder. Irons plays Avery Brundage, the the American Olympic committee head who fought to have the 1936 Olympics take place in Berlin.
"Race" is written by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel. The movie is produced by Jean Charles Lévy for Forecast Pictures, Luc Dayan for ID+, Kate Garwood and Stephen Hopkins for Totally Commercial Films, Louis-Philippe Rochon and Dominique Séguin for Canada’s Solofilms, and Karsten Brünig and Thierry Potok for Germany’s Trinity Race GmbH.
The film is supported by Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group. Mister Smith Entertainment is handling worldwide sales.
The film’s executive producers include Christopher Charlier, Ben Grass, Scott Kennedy, Bonnie Timmermann, George Acogny, Nicolas Manuel, Jonathan Bronfman, and Al Munteanu. Square One, which is also distributing the film in Germany, is a co-producer on the film. eOne is distributing "Race" in Canada.