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'Race' tells story of Jesse Owens' triumphs, struggles

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Eyewitness News reporter Janet Davies talked to the actor who brought this inspiring story to life on the big screen. (WLS)

Opening Friday, "Race" is a new film about Olympic champion Jesse Owens, and his triumphs as well as his struggles.

Eyewitness News reporter Janet Davies talked to the actor who brought this inspiring story to life on the big screen.

A gifted young athlete uses his talent to overcome the racism that surrounds him. Jesse Owens goes on to win four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. With a race to victory and a place in history, it was a breakthrough role for Stephan James.

"How exhausting was that for you, because you really weren't a track person were you?" Davies asked.

"I had to get fast, and then it wasn't enough to be fast, I had to run exactly like how Jesse ran, so there were so many different layers to my training and how I developed the physical aspect of Jesse," James said.

"You were doing this also when you were filming Selma?"

"You're playing the great Congressman John Lewis, a younger version, of course, but every day I had off on Selma I would just go down to the track at Georgia Tech and start working," James said.

Owens moved to Chicago, where he raised his three daughters. He's buried here, where his family still lives. They were on the red carpet in the South Loop for the debut.

"If you think of other Olympics, do you remember anybody? There have been others where more medals have been won, but are they really remembered like this?" said Marlene Owens Rankin.

"You've done John Lewis, Jesse Owens, so you've got a trifecta, who else do you want to play?" Davies asked.

"I think next up... Spider-Man!" James said.

"He wasn't an African-American hero!" Davies said.

"It doesn't matter, I'm gonna make him an African-American hero. Marvel if you're watching, if you're listening, next up Spider-Man!" James said.

Related Topics:
entertainmententertainmentmovieblack history monthChicago - South Loop
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