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Two movies about the legendary Olympic track runner Jesse Owens are in the works, racing to reach the finish line first. One originally starred Star Wars: Episode VII’s John Boyega, but he had to drop out. Another is set to star Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie.
Let’s start with Race, the project that was to star Boyega before he was cast in Star Wars. Variety reported earlier this month that Focus Features was in talks to distribute the film, which will be directed by Stephen Hopkins and written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse.
Boyega was committed, but TheWrap reported today that he has officially dropped out. He will be replaced by Stephan James, a rising actor set to star in the Martin Luther King Jr. film Selma. James is playing John Lewis in that film.
Next is the project that more people will likely be paying attention to, now that Mackie has established himself in The Winter Soldier and previous roles in movies like The Hurt Locker. According to Deadline, Mackie’s project would reunite him with writer Jamie Linden (We Are Marshall), who is set to produce with Jason Spire. They have hired George Olson to write a script and will soon shop it to potential studios.
Deadline notes that there is a third Owens project in the works as well, with David Seidler (The King’s Speech) writing one for Disney.
Owens was, of course, the Olympic runner who took home four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, infuriating Adolf Hitler, who hoped the games would show that Germans were the perfect race.
image courtesy of ACE/INFphoto.com