Jesse Owens biopic in limbo as movie studio faces bankruptcy
Relativity Media has pulled a planned biopic film on four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens ahead of the studio's bankruptcy filing, according to Variety.
Anthony Mackie, who played Tupac Shakur in Notorious and Falcon in the Avengers and Captain America movie series, was slated to play Owens. Jaime Linden, writer of the 2006 film We Are Marshall, and George Olson wrote the original script for the film. A director had not yet been tabbed for the project. Production was scheduled to start in the fall.
Relativity Media is facing bankruptcy and is in the process of moving projects from the studio's mini-studio in an effort to avoid long legal proceedings. Lawyers for the Owens film sent a letter to Relativity to terminate negotiations for the film to be sent to a mini distributor.
The film will tell the story of how Owens ruined Adolf Hitler's plans to showcase German superiority at the 1936 Olympics. Owens won gold in the 100-meter, 200-meter, long jump and 4x100-meter relay while setting three world records. Hitler did not shake Owens' hand after the feat.
Another Owens biopic, Race, is expected to be released in 2016 by Focus Features. Canadian actor Stephan James, who played civil rights activist John Lewis in Selma, plays Owens. The film has the support of the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group.
- Christopher Chavez