McFarland USA: Meet the Actors
McFARLAND, USA opens in theaters everywhere on February 20th!
Kevin Costner on What is a real american story
Kevin Costner was humble and candid during the interview. I did not know that he grew up on my backyard in Ventura County and it was great to hear that he learned a lot about the Mexican people and immigration in this movie.
"Um, I – you know, I've grown up in Ventura, and also in Visalia. And I've driven down these roads. And I saw people working in those fields. I've played and fought and had friends where their families were – were pickers in Saticoy, California, a little Mexican barrio school that I went to. But again, I didn’t invest the way I did until Niki brought me this movie. And bending down to work and seeing a field go forever, understanding that this is forever, this is every week, this is every day in all kinds of weather, um, the appreciation, um, of who these people are, this is as American story as you can possibly have.
There’s no – you think apple pie and baseball’s American? No. McFarland is way more American than any of those things. Those are pastimes. What’s American – maybe I'm gonna get real sentimental, here, because it’s getting dark and Maybe – maybe somebody didn’t want to hear this answer. But there is no American story than parents who are willing to do anything to better their children, to give their children a chance. There’s nothing more American, and it’s been playing out over the last 300 years, here. And so McFarland is not some weird little town, you know, like oh, poor McFarland. Poor McFarland? No. Number one, there’s a mythology around McFarland because their lives changed when they understood that they could be champions. Uh, and repeat that idea. But – but the simplicity – of – of – there’s nothing more noble than a father and a mother, uh, making an opportunity for their child, knowing that their life is gonna be hard. And there’s something very noble about that, to me; something incredibly heroic about that."
Carlos Pratt on making movies for latinos
Sergio Avelar On How he got involved with the movie
"All right, real quick. I mean I think for the longest time, we as Latinos have always, um, we just in general want to see ourselves in a better light. And now we have that. This film shows us that. And everyone – I mean I think you look at a Jim White, he’s a part of it and everyone needs a Jim White. And um, this film is it. This is the truth. And I just can’t wait to see more of it out there because we as Latinos are – you know, we’re – Kevin and I are the same. I mean he’s got a lot more money, but you know? The only difference is the color of our skin, and you know, we came into this world the same and we’re gonna leave the same, so."
"Yeah, man. Um actually, my cousin gave my mother a phone call saying that there’s a open casting call, and it was actually in Bakersfield, which is 30 miles south of McFarland. And um, you know, he said, “You know, tell Junior to go out there, to, you know, see if he could get the movie.” And you know, I thought of it as a joke, like aw, they’re not gonna get guys from, you know, the locals; they’re gonna try to get the guys that can act, you know? Because acting was never – you know, I never thought of it. Never came to mind.
And um, next thing you know, I mean I was just getting, you know, call backs on – to go and, you know, to talk to the casting directors, to – that way they could get to know me a little more and things like that. And then there was a hiatus of just – it was about a year and a half or so when I didn’t hear – I didn’t hear anything about it. Next thing you know, um, I get this call from the casting office, and they say, you know, “Would you like to continue the process on to trying to get to the movie – to try to get back into the movie in McFarland?” I was like, “Oh, yes,” like I completely forgot about it.
And next thing you know, I mean, you know, coming out here to the auditions, and you know, it was very nerve wracking because I was going up against these actors, and you know, I've never acted in my life, I never took drama classes or anything like that. So I thought I was no way into – you know, competing with these guys. So uh, next thing you know, I'm at work, and uh, I get a call from Niki. You know, and she’s like, “Oh, this is Niki Caro from McFarland, and uh, I was wondering if, you know, you would want to work on this project McFarland.” Oh, my gosh, I was – that was the best phone call I just jumped up and down, I ran inside my – the job that I had, and I was like, “Oh, my God, I got the movie, I got the movie!” And everyone was, you know, congratulating me. I mean, but it was – you know, it’s amazing, you know. I thank everyone."
JOHNNY Ortiz ON PLAYING THE REAL-LIFE COUNTERPART