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King’s Things: ‘Race’ Star Stephan James on His Breakout Role

Larry King NowFeb 17 '16

Rising star Stephan James joins Larry to discuss his breakout role as Olympian Jesse Owens in 'Race,' working alongside Jason Sudeikis, and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on Feb 17th 2016:

No, I didn’t. I really didn’t. My manager called me and he said, ‘Do you know who Jesse Owens is?’ and I sort of scratched my head a little bit. But after reading the script and researching who he was, I was blown away by what he had done and the fact that I didn’t know any of it.” - Stephan James on not knowing who Jesse Owens was, unfortunately.

“When I found out, every off day I had on Selma I would basically go down to Georgia Tech in Atlanta and start training with the track and field coaches there.” - Stephan James on his preparation for the role.

“For me, any actor would have to sort of research what that was like, especially when you’re dealing with period pieces like a Selma in the 1960s during the civil rights movement or in the 1930s, so for me it was just a process and understanding those times you know because it’s different than these times. It was much different.”

“More than anything I think it’s great that people are talking about it, that they’re raising the issue and it’s in discussion. Personally, I think that this film is a clear example that it doesn’t matter what you look like or where you come from, that you’re able to accomplish great things. That’s what Jesse embodied.” - Stephan James on the oscars controversy.

“When I went over to Berlin for the first time and I walked up to that stadium— It’s still there. They actually renamed the street ‘Jesse Owens Alley,’ after Jesse Owens. And you go into this stadium and I mean, I got chills walking up to it for the first time just thinking about what had happened there, eighty years later.”

“Sometimes I do like watching The View (laughs). It’s funny to watch that.” - Stephan James on his guilty pleasure.