Jesse Owens movieCentral Press/Getty Images

African-American athlete Jesse Owens cleared many literal and metaphorical hurdles as a record-setting, barrier-breaking track and field star in the 1930s. Now, the late legend is set to clear another: he's getting a biopic.

Disney is developing the film, which is set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "Olympus Has Fallen"). Screenwriter David Seidler, who wrote the Oscar-winning script for "The King's Speech," will pen the untitled project.

The biopic will be based on the biography "Triumph," by Jeremy Schaap, which tells the story of Owens's rise from a poor sharecropper's son to an Olympic star. Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, in the shadow of Adolph Hitler's rise to power.

Hitler had insisted that Jews and blacks not be allowed to participate in the games, but relented when threatened with a boycott. He skipped all non-German medal presentations and refused to shake any non-German victor's hand. Owens's Olympic success -- he set a then-record for number of individual medals won -- was seen as a victory against Hitler's belief in Aryan supremacy.

He died in 1980.

[via Variety]
categories Movies