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In the upcoming new movie, Race, actor Stephan James channels the iconic Olympic track runner, Jesse Owens. The athlete competed in track and field in Berlin, Germany in 1936, but faced great racial discrimination for being an African-American in the games during the time of the Nazi rule.
When TWIST caught up with Stephan to learn about the movie, he told us that playing this role means "everything" to him.
"It’s incredible. I look at Jesse Owens as so much bigger than what most of the world knows him as. He’s a real life hero. A guy that really transcended the sport of track but the world doing what he did in Berlin in 1936," he shares. "It’s an incredible opportunity for me to have the honor of playing him."
"Jesse Owens is the type of person who influenced generations after him," he explains. "There are many different people whether it’s athletes or just people who were inspired by him. So I got the chance to retell the story 80 years later to teach a whole new generation even people younger than myself about what it is that he had done and what that means for us today. That was important for me to be able to be the vessel for that information. It’s important to retell these stories."
Stephan also got to meet some of the real Jesse's family members – to get a sense of that history right from the source.
"I met his daughters early on and they’ve been instrumental in the whole movie making process," he shares. "There were things I learned about him as a man not only as a runner from his family so they were very helpful."
What do you think of Stephan's story? Are you going to see the movie? Let us know by commenting below.
Reporting credit: Karla Rodriguez