An open casting call will be held Saturday, Dec. 17 for an upcoming Disney film based on the feel-good story of McFarland High’s championship cross-country teams of the 1990s, appropriated titled “McFarland.”
According to a press release from the Kern County Film Commission and Disney, the film’s casting director is specifically seeking Hispanic men ages 17 to 23, who are athletic and enthusiastic.
The film will be based on a 1997 Los Angeles Times article about high school coach Jim White who inspired students by forming a cross-country team at McFarland High. The school won nine state cross-country titles between 1987 and 2001, including five during the 1990s. The program was also the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature in 2004.
Above: Jim White
The open auditions will be held at the East Bakersfield Veterans Building, 2101 Ridge Road, from noon to 3 p.m. Photos will be taken at no charge and everyone has been asked to bring identification and a pen to use while filling out various questionnaires. All minors are required to have a work permit and be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. No cellphones will be allowed during auditions.
Above: McFarland cross country team practices in the area foot hills
While several news stories have circulated over who would be directing the film, the latest online entertainment trades point to New Zealand director Niki Caro, best known for directing 2002's “Whale Rider” and 2005's “North Country,” starring Charlize Theron.
The film will be produced by Mayhem Pictures, which has had much success in the inspirational sports film genre with movies like “Miracle,” “Invincible” and last year’s “Secretariat.”
Related story: Jose Gaspar: Film about storied track team up, running
“McFarland” Open Casting Call
When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 17
Where: East Bakersfield Veterans Building, 2102 Ridge Road
Information: No contact provided by production company
Also printed in the 12-15-11 edition of The Bakersfield Californian
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