A couple updates on competing biopics centered around Jesse Owens, the Olympian legend who won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin games:
- John Boyega was set to star in Race, but needs to drop out to star in Star Wars: Episode VII. The Wrap reports Stephan James is now in talks to play Owens. Stephen Hopkins (House of Lies) will direct Race.
- Deadline reports Anthony Mackie “badly wants to play Jesse Owens” and is putting together a passion project to do so. Mackie and Jamie Linden (We Are Marshall) are producing and supervised a script by George Olsen that focuses on the lead-up to the 1936 Olympics. They will shop the project to distributors soon.
There is a third Owens project, too! Last we checked, Antoine Fuqua signed on to direct a biopic scripted by David Seidler (The King’s Speech) for Disney, but Fuqua has many irons in the fire. More after the jump.
Here’s the synopsis for Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics, the source material for the Disney project.
At the 1936 Olympics, against a backdrop of swastikas and goose-stepping storm troopers, an African-American son of sharecroppers won a staggering four gold medals and single-handedly demonstrated that Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy was a lie. The story of Jesse Owens at the Berlin games is that of an athletic performance that transcends sports. It is also the intimate and complex tale of one remarkable man’s courage. Drawing on unprecedented access to the Owens family, previously unpublished interviews, and exhaustive archival research, Jeremy Schaap transports us to Germany and tells the dramatic tale of Owens and his fellow athletes at the contest dubbed the Nazi Olympics. [Amazon]