Filming is scheduled to begin next week on "Race," a movie about Jesse Owens and his performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Owens will be played by Stephan James, who also had a role in a recent TV movie about gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Better-known actors Jason Sudeikis and Jeremy Irons will portray Owens' coach Larry Snyder and Olympic official Avery Brundage, respectively.
"I'm excited we've assembled such an impressive cast to tell this extraordinary story," director Stephen Hopkins said in a release from Focus Features. "Stephan James is an amazing discovery, a rare star in the making."
Owens became legendary for his dominant performance in 1936, winning four gold medals with Adolf Hitler watching on. Part of the film will be shot at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
"We are proud to be the U.S. distributor of the inspirational story of Jesse Owens -- a sports hero who exemplified perseverance, courage and grace, and whose story will resonate with audiences of all generations," said Peter Schlessel, Focus Features chief executive.