Disney Tackling Jesse Owens Story With 'Olympus Has Fallen' Director

Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens
 Getty Images

Disney is tackling the story of Jesse Owens, the black track-and-field star who broke down race barriers when he won four medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany.

Antoine Fuqua is attached to direct the project, which also has David Seidler, the Oscar-winning scribe behind The King’s Speech, attached to write the screenplay. Seidler will adapt Triumph, the book by ESPN anchor Jeremy Schaap.

Producing are BermanBraun’s Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun and Netter Films’ Gil Netter.

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Triumph recounts Owens’ rise from a poor childhood in 1920s Cleveland to his ascendance in running and the long jump. At Berlin, he won four gold medals, a direct affront to Adolf Hitler's ideas of Aryan superiority.

Part of Owens' myth is that Hitler snubbed him at the Games after his wins, but Triumph claims that while it is true Hitler didn’t shake hands with Owens, that was because of other factors. The book depicts Owens complaining more about being snubbed by Franklin D. Roosevelt than by the Nazi leader.

Fuqua, repped by CAA, last directed the hit action movie Olympus Has Fallen and has Sony’s The Equalizer in post for a Sept. 26, 2014 release.

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