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Jake Gyllenhaal and Boston Bombing Hero Jeff Bauman To Serve as Historic Dual Honorary Starters of 101st Indianapolis 500

Academy Award-nominated actor, and producer Jake Gyllenhaal and Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman will team up to serve as honorary starters for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28. They will be the first duo to wave the green flag in the century-plus history of the race.

Gyllenhaal will play Bauman in the upcoming film “Stronger,” based on Bauman’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name in which he provides a deeply personal account of his challenging, heroic journey after losing both of his legs in the infamous Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. The “Stronger” film, directed by David Gordon Green, will be released by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions on Sept. 22, 2017.

“We’re honored to welcome Jake Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bauman to send the field of 33 starters into Turn 1 for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “It’s fitting that our fans will join Jake in honoring an incredible hero like Jeff on Memorial Day Weekend, as it’s a time when all Americans honor those who have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation.”

Bauman personified “Boston Strong” after the attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013. In the flash of the bomb blast, Bauman went from being an ordinary 27-year-old cheering his girlfriend at the finish line to a double amputee fighting for his life.

The next day, Bauman became a hero when he awoke from multiple surgeries, groggy and unable to speak. He asked for a pen and paper and wrote down: “Saw the guy. Looked right at me.” With these seven words, Bauman set off one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history and earned global accolades.

Months of intensive rehabilitation followed, which Bauman met with grace, humor and an unwavering determination to walk again, a goal he achieved in a transformational journey that became a story for our times.

Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Bauman will further establish him as one of the finest actors of his generation.

Working with some of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers in both independent and studio films, Gyllenhaal starred in Ang Lee's classic “Brokeback Mountain”, for which he received an Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor; Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler”, which he also produced and received BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics’ Choice, and Independent Spirit Award nominations; David Ayer’s “End of Watch”, which placed in several critics’ Top 10 Films of 2012, including the National Board of Review’s Top Ten Independent Films; Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama “Southpaw”; Baltasar Kormákur’s “Everest”; Dennis Villeneuve’s highly acclaimed “Prisoners”; Richard Kelly's cult hit “Donnie Darko”; Duncan Jones’ “Source Code”, David Fincher's “Zodiac”; Sam Mendes' “Jarhead”; Joe Johnston's “October Sky”; and most recently, Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals,” for which he earned a BAFTA nomination. He can next be seen in Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja”, which premieres at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival and later will be released by Netflix on June 28, 2017. Gyllenhaal, with producing partner Riva Marker, recently formed Ninestories a production company acquiring and developing material for film, television and the stage. Most recently their documentary “Hondros,” about the award-winning war photographer Chris Hondros, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and won the Audience Award.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 101st Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 and for more information on the complete Month or May schedule at IMS.

The race also will be televised live on ABC and streamed on WatchESPN, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. (ET). 

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