The rise of British actor John Boyega continues today as he’s now taken the high-profile lead role in Race – an upcoming biopic of Olympic legend Jesse Owens.
Owens was a US track and field athlete in the 1930s, specializing in sprinting and long jump events. His fame reached epic proportions when he participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, winning four gold medals and becoming the most successful athlete in the entire competition. Making the triumph even more notable was the fact that Adolf Hitler had originally tried to ban all Jewish and black people from competing in the games, before a threatened boycott from a number of countries forced him to relent.
John Boyega – who burst onto the screen in 2011 with Da Brick and Attack The Block – is considered to be one of the most sought after young actors in the industry today, with a lead role in Malik Vitthal’s Imperial Dreams currently doing the rounds at the Sundance Film Festival. He will begin shooting scenes for Race in May 2014, in locations including Berlin and Montreal.
The Forecast Pictures production has been in development for two years, and is supported by The Jesse Owens Trust, The Jesse Owens Foundation and The Luminary Group. It will be directed by Stephen Hopkins – whose credits include House Of Lies, Californication and The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers – who will work from a script by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel.
Race is one of two Jesse Owens films set to hit our screens in the next few years – the other being Antoine Fuqua’s film for Disney, based on the book ‘Triumph’ by Jeremy Schaap. In further Olympic movie-fever, John Watkins’ Gold is also in development, starring Daniel Radcliffe. That film will tell the story of the rivalry between British athletes Steve Ovett and Seb Coe in the early 1980s.
So, with a production start-date announced, it seems that the hotly-tipped John Boyega may be leading a field of Olympic-themed movies, as well as leading Race itself.