Focus Features has released a new trailer for the upcoming Jesse Owens biopic Race. The film will focus on Owens (Stephen James, Selma), one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, as he wrestles with his desire to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and stay home as a form of protest against racism in America. With Berlin having recently come under Nazi rule, Owens’ accomplishments at the games went down in history as a form of protest against Hitler’s policy of intolerance.
The film also stars Jeremy Irons (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Jason Sudeikis (Sleeping With Other People), William Hurt (Winter’s Tale) and Amanda Crew (The Age of Adaline). This could be a star-making role for James as he could follow in the footsteps of Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up) who played baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42 and is now set to play Black Panther in the upcoming Marvel film of the same name.
While Race is set to release in February 2016, Disney is also planning their own Jesse Owens biopic, Triumph, in the vein of their past sports titles like Remember the Titans, Miracle, and Secretariat. Given Disney’s relatively clean history with sports films, Race has the opportunity to deal with the racial issues at hand in a much more complex way.
We’ll have more on Race as its release approaches. In the meantime, you can check out the trailer below.