Angelina Jolie has signed on as producer of a biopic about legendary athlete Jim Thorpe.
Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story will tell the story of the late native American athlete, who won Olympic gold medals while representing the U.S. in the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. He then went on to play Major League Baseball before playing for six teams in the National Football League (NFL).
“I’m honoured to be working on this project,” Angelina said in a statement to Variety. “I have had the privilege of spending time with (his son) Bill Thorpe, and will be listening to and guided by the Tribes and the Thorpe family in the making of this film.”
Thorpe will be portrayed by Martin Sensmeier, an American actor of Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabascan, and Irish descent who has had roles in the remake of The Magnificent Seven, Westworld and Wind River. He was raised in a Tlingit Coastal Community in Southeast Alaska and grew up learning and participating in the traditions of his Tribes.
Martin will executive produce the project alongside Josh Aker and Justine Hunt. Other producers include Escape Artist Productions’ Todd Black and Steve Tisch, as well as Abraham Taylor, who penned the original screenplay with Alex Nibley and Sterlin Harjo.
The project has received support from certain Native American tribes and Thorpe’s family, who will be involved in the production, the latest to focus on the athlete since a 1951 film starring Burt Lancaster.
“My brother Richard and I are the only surviving children of Jim Thorpe,” Bill said. “Our father’s accomplishments in life are a great source of pride to us. In the more than six decades since Burt Lancaster’s Jim Thorpe: All American, our family has heard of dozens of attempts to bring this story to modern audiences, but we have never shared the vision of a movie until the authentic portrayal in Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story.”
Angelina’s recent producing credits include the Oscar-nominated animated feature The Breadwinner and First They Killed My Father, which she also wrote and directed.