jesse-owens

Jesse Owens

*Based on the incredible true story of track and field superstar Jesse Owens, “Race” will chronicle the athlete’s gold medal wins at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, which crushed Adolf Hitler’s plans to tout his 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.

Stephan James (“Selma”) stars as Owens, in a script written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. Director Stephen Hopkins filmed the sports drama in Montreal and on location at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where Owens won his record-breaking four gold medals.

James is a Canadian film and television actor whose credits include “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” “Home Again” and “12 Dates of Christmas.” He earned a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards for his performance in “Home Again.” He played civil rights activist John Lewis in 2014’s “Selma.”

Actor Stephan James attends Mercedes-Benz USA and African American Film Critics Association Academy Awards viewing party on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Stephan James attends Mercedes-Benz USA and African American Film Critics Association Academy Awards viewing party on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Source: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images via Zimbio.

Stephen was also one of four young Canadian actors selected for the Toronto Film Festival’s 2015 TIFF Rising Stars program. Last month he told Variety that he was offered the Owens role while he was filming “Selma.”

“When I first got the call from my manager asking if I’d ever heard of Jesse Owens, I recognized the name, looked him up and was blown away by his story,” James said, adding “Owens’ struggle and triumph against adversity is so inspiring. The experience of playing this role has been such an honor.”

Jason Sudeikis will portray Owens’ coach and mentor Larry Snyder. William Hurt will play Amateur Athletic Union president Jeremiah Mahoney, who led the boycott against the 1936 Olympics. Jeremy Irons will play U.S. Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage, who fought against the boycott, Sinuous magazine reports. Carice van Houten will portray Leni Riefenstahl, the infamous German director of 1935’s “Triumph of the Will,” a Nazi propaganda documentary.

“Race” arrives in theaters February 16, 2016. Check out the teaser trailer below.