It is only fitting that "The Express", the film on the life of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, has its world premiere in Syracuse, on the weekend of the renewal of the Orange's great football rivalry with Penn State.
Syracuse University and Universal Pictures announced that "The Express" will debut Friday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Landmark Theatre, a venue frequented by Davis and his teammates during their days at SU.
The film about Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, stars Rob Brown ("Finding Forrester") as Davis and Dennis Quaid ("The Rookie") as Coach Ben Schwartzwalder. Gary Fleder ("Runaway Jury") directed the film, which opens nationally on Oct. 3.
Davis followed his hero, Jim Brown, to SU in 1958 and one year later led the Orange to the national championship. He was a pioneer for African American football players in much the same way one of his idols, Jackie Robinson, broke baseball's color barrier.
Quaid, Rob Brown and other cast members and celebrities will arrive at a special "orange carpet" entry in classic convertible automobiles. Following the screening, guests will go to the Onondaga County War Memorial for a gala theme party with entertainment of the late 1950s era.
Bleachers will be constructed on Salina Street for the public to view the orange carpet arrival program that will be shown on a large video screen at the corner of South Salina and Jefferson Streets, which will be closed to vehicular traffic.
Net proceeds of the premiere will benefit Syracuse University's Ernie Davis Fund. The Fund's purposes include sustaining academic and personal development programming for football student athletes and their involvement in the 'Cuse Cares Community Service Program.
Tickets for the fundraiser are priced at $1,000 and include the movie premiere at the Landmark; the post-movie gala and the opportunity to interact with the stars of the movie, SU athletic greats such as Jim Brown and Floyd Little, and other SU alumni from the sports and entertainment industries. A limited number of reduced-price tickets will be available through a lottery and promotional contests. Public sale of tickets will start in early August.