Joel Kinnaman to Star as NFL Player Jerry Smith in Racial Drama

Actor will also executive produce untitled film about the record setting Washington Football Team tight end

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 10:Actor Joel Kinnaman attends the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Robocop” on February 10, 2014 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Joel Kinnaman will play NFL star Jerry Smith in a racial drama that charts Smith’s friendship with his teammate for Washington, Brig Owens, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

The untitled film will be set during the Civil Rights era and show how Smith, who was secretly gay and died from AIDS in 1986, found solace and support from Owens, who as a Black man going through law school after his NFL career faced his own persecution and bigotry.

No director has been set, but Kinnaman will also executive produce the film, and production hopes to begin in Q3 of 2021.

Anthony Kaan wrote the screenplay based on a story by Owens and Kevin Vance, and Kaan will also produce for Fandomodo Films along with Tommy Oliver for his Confluential Films banner.

Kinnaman will executive produce with Jon Bernthal. Fandomodo Films is financing.

Kinnaman starred in “Suicide Squad” and will next be seen in the follow-up to it directed by James Gunn.

Smith by the end of his NFL career in 1977 after 13 years in the league had set a record for the most touchdowns scored by a tight end. Owens to this day has the second most interceptions all time for any player for the Washington Football Team.

Variety first reported the news of the project.

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