Triumph, a new film starring RJ Mitte and Terrence Howard, opens across more than 250 screens nationwide Friday. But a lucky handful of area residents got to preview the movie early, during a special DC-area premiere on Tuesday night.
Based on a true story, Triumph follows an aspiring high school wrestler with cerebral palsy. Mitte, who himself was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three years old, was a natural choice for the lead.
Audiences, of course, are most familiar with Mitte’s work as one of the lead characters on the series Breaking Bad. This film struck perhaps an even more personal chord with him though: “This film has been a labor of love,” Mitte said. “This film is not just a movie. It’s a movement, it’s an idea, it’s a belief. The man that wrote this film, his name is Michael Coffey, and this is kind of a story to his life and a testament to a time where he wasn’t given the ability to live the life he wanted to live. And this movie was a dream for him… [And] we made this dream happen.”
Yet that dream faced some logistical hurdles before it could become reality. Enter local Georgetown resident Scott Stewart, who, on his way back from watching the Super Bowl this year, happened to strike up a conversation with one of the movie’s producers at a bar in the Tampa airport. After watching the trailer for Triumph, Stewart was captivated by its narrative and expressed his desire to further support its release. Speaking to guests at Tuesday’s screening, Stewart joked how “jonesing for a cold Miller Lite” is how he found himself an executive producer on a Hollywood film.
In keeping with the cautious nature of public gatherings during a pandemic, the Washington premiere was an intimate gathering of cast, crew, and close family and friends. That didn’t stop attendees from donning their most “creative black tie” attire, though, for a rare night out.
The event was held at the Cinemark Theater complex in Fairfax to honor the movie theater chain’s exclusive distribution agreement with film distributor Relativity Media. A portion of the proceeds from Triumph will be donated to United Cerebral Palsy, a charity whose mission is to support individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, their families, and their communities, and an organization on which Mitte serves as a board member.