Pictureworks Entertainment, Director Tracey Deer, and Casting Director, Rene Haynes, announce an online open casting call event to find the next Jim Thorpe for the upcoming feature film Thorpe.
Deadline reported on November 21, 2022 that award-winning Indigenous director Tracey Deer (Beans) will direct Thorpe, written by William N. Collage (Emancipation). This will be the first time in history Thorpe will be portrayed by a Native man in a major motion picture.
Thorpe is an inspiring sports drama about the Indigenous multi-sport athlete Jim Thorpe. Aided by the legendary coach, Pop Warner, Jim attempts to overcome the devastation of the Native American boarding school system to achieve Olympic glory at Stockholm in 1912 and fulfill the words of his father to “show the world what an Indian can do.”
Rene Haynes (Prey, The Revenant, The New World, and the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon) is recognized, internationally, as one of the foremost experts in Native American/First Nations/Indigenous casting.
ROLE: JIM THORPE, male, to play age 22-25. The acclaimed Sac and Fox and Potawatomi athlete as a young man (circa.1910 – 1913). For information on how to submit an audition, go to thorpemovie.com.
Producer Chris Taylor, Chitimacha Tribe of LA, said: “The challenge with this project has always been deciding which part of Jim’s story to focus the movie on. Previous versions of the script portrayed an older Jim, but what’s so exciting about Collage’s script is how youthful it is. We are very much looking forward to finding the right young Native man to step into Jim’s giant shoes. We invite every tribe in the U.S. and Canada to encourage their young people to audition.”
Deer, the first Indigenous Filmmaker to get the TIFF emerging talent award, said she was “honored and thrilled to bring Jim Thorpe’s incredible story to the screen so audiences worldwide can experience the tremendous hurdles he overcame to become the greatest athlete of the 20th century. His resilience, passion and pride are shining examples of the greatness that Indigenous people are capable of but that the dominant society has tried so hard to quash over the years. The residential school system is just one of the injustices Jim and so many of our people have had to survive. Just as Jim has now been rightfully restored to his proper place as an Olympic champion, so too it is time for the world to face the realities of systemic racism and persecution that have permeated North American society so that we can begin to heal as a nation. My goal for Thorpe is to create a film that offers hope and inspiration, in spite of so much darkness, to show what is possible when you dare to dream. This is the gift of Jim’s legacy to us all.”