It was back in January 2014 that it was announced the young, British Attack The Block star, John Boyega would be taking the lead role in the Jesse Owens biopic Race, with filming due to begin this month. Things change quickly in Hollywood, however, and rather than begin principal photography now, Boyega has leapt at the chance to join the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII – and Stephan James will now replace him in the inspirational Olympic tale.
The Wrap reports that James – star of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival hit Home Again – will now tackle the role of Jesse Owens. The American track and field athlete stunned the world when he finished the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games with four gold medals – despite Hitler’s initial attempt to ban black and Jewish athletes from the competition. The threat of a boycott caused Hitler to publicly soften his stance, and Owens arrived to spectacularly steal the show.
The screenplay for Race comes from Frankie And Alice scribes Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, with Stephen Hopkins in the director’s chair. Hopkins is perhaps best known for helming many episodes of hit TV shows such as 24, Californication and House Of Lies – though his feature film credits also include Lost In Space, The Ghost And The Darkness and Blown Away.
There is quite the flurry of interest in the story of Jesse Owens at the moment, with several rival projects gearing up for production – presumably aiming for release just ahead of the 80th anniversary of those eventful Berlin Games, in 2016. In addition to Race, Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie is supposedly pulling an Owens film together, and a similarly themed movie is also being developed over at Disney. With Stephan James now cast, it would seem that Race is currently in the lead, however – but it remains to be seen which dramatic rendering of the Owens story will cross the finish line first.
Source: The Wrap