EXCLUSIVE: Julian Horton (National Champions) signed on to the upcoming sports drama film Black Spartans. Horton stars alongside J. Alphonse Nicholson (P-Valley), Neal McDonough (The Flash), and Casey Cott (Riverdale). Writing and directing the film is Ben Cory Jones (Insecure).
Black Spartans is inspired by the story of the mid-1966 National Championship Michigan State Spartans Football Team coached by Duffy Daughtery. This team was the first integrated college football team, which changed the sport forever.
Julian Horton is no stranger to the world of football. He is a former NFL wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans. After leaving the NFL, Julian transitioned to the world of acting, booking his first job on CW’s Legacies. He then booked his first film, which can be seen on Amazon, The House Invictus, as well as his first episodic arc on Tyler Perry/BET’s Bruh.
Eugene “Gene” Washington is a former NFL wide receiver who played on the Minnesota Vikings (1967-1972), as well as the Denver Broncos (1973). But before all that, he was one of the first African American players integrated into Michigan State’s college football program. In 2011, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Horton says he never thought Football would be part of his acting career, but “art imitates life.” There will be no stunt double needed. For him, this story is important to tell because, even though he played college football and made it to the NFL, he didn’t know this story.
“I was not familiar and had never heard of the Black Spartans, or Duffy, [etc] in the 1960s. To hear about the story now and to hear about it through a movie [I’m acting in] has led me to do more research and learn all about it. I’ve learned all about their crazy stats, and other eye opening things I never knew before.
African Americans are the biggest race in the NFL and to show the first fully integrated college football team ever is incredible. This is the foundation of what [the game] has become today. Not a lot of people know how it started and how the foundation was built. It’s important to know, it’s pivotal and important to see.
These [players] are trailblazers. They’re the reason the game is the way it is today. I’m glad that we’re able to tell the story because it’s been long enough and it needs to be told. We’re able to give people their flowers while they’re still here. And I can’t wait for the world to see it. It’s great acting and great football.”
Julian Horton can also be seen in the feature film National Champions alongside J.K. Simmons, Timothy Olyphant, Uzo Aduba, and Lil Rel Howery. He also just wrapped an appearance in the feature The Re-Education of Molly Singer. He can also be seen in the Amazon Prime Video distributed feature The House Invictus.