Quaid huddles with Fleder for Uni's 'Express'

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Dennis Quaid has signed on to star in "The Express," the true story of football great Ernie Davis, for Universal Pictures. Gary Fleder is directing, while John Davis produces.

Davis broke college football records and racial barriers in the early 1960s playing at Syracuse University, becoming the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy. The running back was drafted into the NFL, but his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Quaid will play Davis' coach, who eventually becomes his champion. The role of Davis has not been cast.

Charles Leavitt ("Blood Diamond") wrote the latest draft of the script.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in March. Peter Cramer and Erik Baiers are overseeing for Universal.

The casting reunites Quaid with producer Davis, for whom he starred in the 2004's action-adventure movie "Flight of the Phoenix." Quaid, who most recently was seen in Universal's "American Dreamz," is shooting the romantic comedy "Smart People," with Rachel Weisz.

Quaid is repped by WMA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.
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