Angelina Jolie is teaming with Fences producer Todd Black, Steve Tisch of Escape Artists Productions, and Abraham Taylor to produce Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story, a biopic on legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, who will be played by Martin Sensmeier. Taylor penned the script with Alex Nibley and Sterlin Harjo. Executive producers are Sensmeier, Josh Aker, and Justine Hunt of Box of Daylight Productions.
Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and his native name, Wa-Tho-Huk, translates as Bright Path. In 1912, he won two Olympic gold track and field medals, representing the United States while his citizenship went unrecognized during a period of cultural genocide for Native Americans. Known as one of the most versatile athletes, Thorpe went on to play Major League Baseball, professional Football and eventually founded the organization that became the National Football League.
Warner Bros released a Thorpe biopic, Jim Thorpe – All-American, in 1951, which was directed by Michael Curtiz and starred Burt Lancaster.
The producers are said to have secured support from Indian Country to participate in financing the film as well as the involvement of Thorpe’s family in telling the authentic story.
“My brother Richard and I are the only surviving children of Jim Thorpe,” commented Bill Thorpe. “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.”
“I’m honored to be working on this project, said Jolie. “I have had the privilege of spending time with Bill Thorpe, and will be listening to and guided by the Tribes and the Thorpe family in the making of this film.”
UTA’s Independent Film Group will rep Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story for financing and distribution.
In addition, Jolie is producing and starring in Disney’s Maleficent 2 and is attached to voice star and produce the Disney adaptation of The One and Only Ivan.
Jolie is repped by UTA, Media Talent Group and Sloane Offer.
Sensmeier, who was recently seen in Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River and the HBO series Westworld, is repped by UTA and Justine Hunt of Hines and Hunt Entertainment.