Angelina Jolie will be producing Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story, the upcoming biopic about the legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. Martin Sensmeier will play the accomplished athlete, and executive produce the project.
Escape Artist Productions’ Todd Black and Steve Tisch are on board to produce alongside Jolie. Abraham Taylor co-wrote the original screenplay and will also produce.
“Regarded as one of the greatest athletes in the history of modern sports, Thorpe was also a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. In 1912, he won two Olympic gold medals representing the United States while his citizenship went unrecognized during a period of cultural genocide for Native Americans. He went on to play Major League Baseball, professional football and eventually founded the organization that became the NFL.”
Jolie’s directing and producing career has mostly been about real-life heroes and putting a spotlight on issues and people from different parts of the globe. Her directing history has covered the Bosnian war in The Land of Blood & Honey, POW hero Louis Zamperini in Unbroken, and the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in last year’s, First They Killed My Father. Jolie is not attached to direct the Jim Thorpe project, however, she will be working closely with the Thorpe family and guided by the Tribes to respectfully depict Thorpe and his significance in the Native American community. Jolie did similar research and collaboration when filming First They Killed My Father. Authenticity is a priority for the upcoming biopic.
“The producers have garnered significant support from Indian Country — including the Tuolumne Band of Mewuk Indians, the Mohegan Tribe, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the Tonto Apache Tribe and The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria — to participate in financing the film and telling the authentic story.”
Sensmeier will star as Jim Thorpe. His previous credits include HBO’s Westworld, Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, and Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven.
““As Native Americans, it is crucial that we tell our own stories,” Mohegan chairman Kevin Brown “Red Eagle” said. “Thorpe’s is a vital one, and Bright Path will break barriers. For the first time, a major motion picture about a Native man, starring a Native man, will be made and released to a broad general audience. We couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.””
The film currently is in active development.