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‘Race’ Trailer: Jesse Owens Runs Into History

I guess Dominic Toretto is a big fan of Jesse Owens.

In the trailer for Race, Owens (Stephan James) describes the beauty and pleasure of running. “For those ten seconds,” he says, “you are completely free.” Which sure sounds an awful lot like the end of this famous Vin Diesel speech from the first Fast & Furious.

The Fasts are about a very different kind of racing, though. Race follows Jesse Owens’ quest to win at the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin, Germany at the height of the Nazi regime. As the trailer shows, Owens was under enormous pressure, first to decide whether or not it was right to compete at all in an Olympic event held in a country under Nazi control, and then to succeed in his races (and therefore disprove the Nazi’s despicable ideology about their racial superiority).

Race is directed by Stephen Hopkins, who’s previously worked mostly in the TV sphere, having directed episodes of 24Californication, and House of Lies. In addition to James (who played John Lewis in last year’s Selma) the film also stars William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten, and Jason Sudeikis as Owens’ coach. At first glance, Sudeikis looks kind of out of place in a tasteful and serious biopic; it’ll be interesting to see if he can get comfortable in a non-comedic setting. (Maybe he’ll get Jesse revved up for the final race by embracing him and whispering in his ear “Ride or die.”)

Race opens in theaters on February 19, 2016.

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