Rashaad Ernesto Green has been set to direct 68, the upcoming biopic that will follow the impact of Olympic runners and activists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
As Variety reports, the film “tells the story of Smith and Carlos from their first meeting on the track team at San Jose State to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. As the two received medals for the 200 meter race (Smith the gold and Carlos the bronze, pictured above), they raised their fists in salute and silent protest during the American national anthem. The event caused widespread controversy at the time, and is still regarded as one of the most political moments in the history of the Olympics.”
The screenplay was written by Billy Ray. In a statement, Green said, “Still incredibly powerful and relevant, I’m honored for the opportunity to bring Tommie and John’s riveting story to life; to portray the weight of the world these two giants had on their shoulders and the self-determination, courage and sacrifice it took for them to stand up for all of us.”
MACRO, Participant and Stacy Sherman are producing the film while MGM is the distributor. Carlos’ nephews, Airrion and Shaun McCoy, as well as DeLois Smith, the wife of Tommie Smith, are co-producers.
Michael De Luca, MGM Film Group Chairman, and Pam Abdy, MGM Film Group President, said: “We are thrilled to have Rashaad Ernesto Green at the helm of this very special film. Olympian Tommie Smith has said that he and fellow Olympian John Carlos ‘had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard. The courage and selflessness of these two extraordinary men, who quite literally put their lives on the line to stand up for what was right and true, has stood as a testament to the essential need to speak truth to power.”
Participant CEO David Linde shared, “At a time when the right to peacefully protest remains under attack, it couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity to tell the story of these courageous men.”
MACRO founder and CEO Charles D. King added, “The moment when Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the podium and raised their fists created a ripple effect of change that resonates to this very day and now audiences worldwide will understand the true extent of their bravery.”
Rashaad Ernesto Green previously directed Gun Hill Road and Premature. His brother, Reinaldo Marcus Green, recently directed King Richard.