After his breakout performance in Attack the Block, British-born actor John Boyega went on to star in Half of a Yellow Sun, the movie adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – as well as the failed Spike Lee pilot, Da Brick. This year, he portrays a reformed L.A. gangster in Imperial Dreams, which premiered at Sundance.
In Race, Boyega will play African-American Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Owen won four gold medals after winning the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump, and the 400-meter relay, ruining Adolf Hitler’s goal of showcasing Aryan supremacy at the Games. At first, Nazi leaders were against black and Jewish people competing in the Olympics, but after a boycott, they eventually relented. Stephen Hopkins will direct, with screenplay written by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel.
Coincidentally (or not?), Disney also has a Jesse Owens biopic in development, with Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, Training Day) attached to direct.
Race is scheduled for a spring 2015 release.