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Casting Net: Anthony Mackie to star in Jesse Owens biopic

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  • Relativity is in talks to develop a biopic about American track and field legend Jesse Owens with Anthony Mackie attached to star. Owens, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy when he won four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Hitler had insisted Jewish people and African-Americans not be allowed in the Games, but gave up when threatened with a boycott. He shook hands with only the German victors on the first day and then skipped all other medal presentations. Producers on the untitled Relativity project are Jason Spire, Jamie Linden and George Olson. The script has been written by Linden and Olson. [Variety]

  • John Savage (The Deer Hunter) has signed on to James Franco’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle. Savage will play a farm laborer who fears losing his job that he needs and has grown to love. The story highlights the fears associated for any worker as to the ramifications of unionization and the jeopardy that comes along with it. The project is shooting in Atlanta starting this week. [Deadline]

  • Annabelle Wallis has been cast in Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur. She is set to play Maid Maggie. The film is about young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was meant for until he grasps the sword Excalibur. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern—who murdered his parents and stole his crown—and become the king. A release is set for July 22, 2016. [Deadline]

  • Karl Glusman (Stonewall) has joined Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon, a female-driven horror tale starring Elle Fanning. Plot details are unknown. Production is set to start on March 30. [Variety]