Quaid's southern roots inspire movie role

Dennis Quaid credits his upbringing in the racially-segregated southern US with inspiring his role in forthcoming film 'The Express'.

Dennis Quaid credits his upbringing in the racially-segregated southern US with inspiring his role in forthcoming film 'The Express'.

The 54-year-old actor, who was raised in Texas, plays a football coach in the drama, which is based on the life of American college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

He says: "It's a very emotional story... It's set in 1959 when racial tensions were high in this country before the civil rights movement bubbled up and in the time of segregation.

"That's the experience I did have growing up, especially down in the South, I remember those times. I remember being a kid and (having) separate restrooms and separate drinking fountains and Ernie Davis was able to walk through some doors and break down some barriers in a quietly graceful way."

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