Fleder directing NFL pic

“Finding Forrester” star Rob Brown has been cast as the lead opposite Dennis Quaid in Universal’s “The Express.”

Brown will play Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win a Heisman Trophy. The athlete, raised in poverty in Pennsylvania coal-mining country, never got to play in the NFL; he was diagnosed with leukemia after being drafted. Quaid plays his hard-nosed coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, who served as a surrogate father.

Gary Fleder is directing and John Davis producing.

Brown also stars in Kimberly Peirce’s upcoming Paramount film “Stop Loss,” about a soldier who refuses to return to duty in Iraq, and will appear later this year in “Live!,” an indie pic. He stars alongside Eva Mendes and Jay Hernandez in that film, directed by Bill Guttentag. Thesp previously starred in “Take the Lead” and “Coach Carter.”

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