The life story of Olympic champion Jesse Owens comes to the big screen next year in Focus Features' Race, which is set to hit theaters on February 19, 2016. Today, Yahoo! Movies has the first trailer for this highly-anticipated biopic, which stars Stephan James as the track star who became a worldwide legend. The drama will go up against EuropaCorp's Shut In and The Weinstein Company's Viral next February.
Based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. Race is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man's fight to become an Olympic legend. Jesse Owens went on to win four gold medals during the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin.
The supporting cast includes Jason Sudeikis as Jesse Owens' coach and mentor Larry Snyder, Jeremy Irons as Avery Brundage, the head of the American Olympic committee who fought to have the 1936 Olympics take place in Berlin, Carice van Houten as Leni Riefenstahl, a Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Amanda Crew as Peggy and William Hurt as Jeremiah Maroney, the Amateur Athletic Union president who spearheaded a movement to boycott the 1936 Olympics. The film was produced with the support of the Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group. Production took place last year in Montreal, where the 1976 Summer Olympics took place.
Shortly before the 1936 Olympics, Jesse Owens set a time of 10.2 seconds in the 100-meter dash, which stood as a world record for over 20 years. Unfortunately, his burgeoning track career was cut short after the Olympics, when his amateur status was revoked, making the Berlin games his first and only Olympic appearance. Much like Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball, Jesse Owens succeeded despite racial hostility on and off the track.
Stephen Hopkins (The Reaping) directs from a screenplay by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel (Frankie & Alice). Do you think Race has what it takes to become an early hit at the box office next year? Or do you think this should be moved into this calendar year, so it can qualify for the Oscars? Take a look at the first trailer and let us know what you think.