With Tim Tebow’s celebrity influence and his brother Robby Tebow’s guidance and football expertise, Jake McEntire’s script about two brothers growing up in the South was coming to life at a live football game.
“When you have Tim Tebow as one of the producers ... it’s very helpful,” says Jake McEntire, co-writer and producer of Run the Race.
Run the Race is a film about football, but it also draws on the bond of two brothers following their dreams. McEntire started writing the script 14 years ago, drawing inspiration from his friends and his own stories and experiences growing up in Dallas.
“I have five brothers; I was born and raised in North Texas," McEntire says. "A little bit north of Dallas, my brothers and I, we grew up playing sports. I wanted to write a story about what I knew about. I grew up with a bunch of brothers and football and going to church and this small-town vibe and feel. I wanted to make something raw and authentic that me and my brothers would really appreciate.”
McEntire started writing this story while attending Dallas Baptist University. He shot a six-minute concept trailer with him as the lead, and that’s where everything began.
“It started kinda going viral," he says. "In 2013 it ended up in the hands of Robby Tebow, Tim’s older brother. I get a phone call from Robby Tebow and he’s like, 'Man, I’ve seen your trailer and Timmy and I both really enjoy it. We’ve seen over 100 scripts in the last years and never seen something that really impacted us.' So Timmy and Robby felt bonded to the brother feel of the movie.”
Robby Tebow heads up Tim’s marketing company, and the two brothers started Faith Hope and Love productions. This is the first movie they produced.
“They are the real deal. What you see is what you get,” McEntire says. “And it’s actually a lot of fun hanging out with them because they will rag on each other 24/7. When they’re not competing or going back and forth with movie lines, they get super passionate trying to impact kids and impact the world in a positive way. They’re pretty driven, telling jokes and movie lines to Bible verses back to jokes."
If the name Tim Tebow means anything, it’s football and the Bible. The Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback gained national fame for his habit of kneeling in prayer during Denver Broncos games. Run the Race is exactly what you would expect from the star athlete.
“I would honestly say it’s not your typical Christian movie,” McEntire says, laughing. “I wouldn’t even categorize it that way. It’s inspirational and there’s a faith element to it. But as far as it being a Bible school lesson, it’s not really that. It’s about growing up in the South, and yeah, if you’re growing up in the South, you see a church every few blocks.”
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Originally written to be shot in Whitewright, Texas, a small town 20 minutes from Sherman and Denison but shot around Alabama and Florida instead, perhaps the faith elements of the movie mostly point to what it’s like growing up in the South.
“I would just say, I’m biased, but we did our very best to not let there be anything cheesy in this movie," McEntire says. "We wanted it to be raw and authentic, and we wanted any young person growing up, whether they be a young Christian or not, to say this is real.
“I’m proud that it originated in Dallas. I think people can really relate to this movie about growing up in the South and figuring out what life is all about and who’s going to be with you when you do.”
The inspirational sports drama will be in theaters Feb. 22.