Disney Developing Greek Marathoner Biopic (Exclusive)
Bill Wheeler will write the story of runner Stylianos "Stelios" Kyriakides
Disney is lacing up its shoes to tell the story of famed Greek marathon runner Stylianos "Stelios" Kyriakides, tapping Bill Wheeler to pen the screenplay.
Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who produced the inspirational sports dramas The Rookie and Secretariat, are producing Kyriakides, as the project is titled.
Paris Latsis and Terry Dougas are also producing via their 1821 Pictures.
Kyriakides was a champion long distance runner in Greece, competing in the 1936 Olympics, but his career was halted in its tracks due to the Nazi occupation of his home country. After fighting for the resistance, the frail and emaciated man made his way to the U.S. and competed in the 1946 Boston Marathon, a race to which he was initially denied entry - doctors feared he would die while running, so weak was his condition.
During the race, he pulled himself from near last place to finish first, yelling "For Greece!" when he crossed the finish line, with his win enabling him to raise money and food relief for his war-torn country.
Wheeler, repped by UTA, Anonymous and attorney Darren Trattner, adapted the Mohsin Hamid novel The Reluctant Fundamentlist, which is being directed by Mira Nair (Amelia).