By Scott T. Sterling
Longtime Hollywood star Kevin Costner returns to the big-screen this weekend with McFarland USA, a feel-good film that tells the true story of the primarily Mexican-American 1987 track team from McFarland, Calif. that went on to become genuine contenders and even champions.
Costner, who plays the team’s coach, Jim White, rang up Billy Kidd of All Access Pass to talk about the movie and the real-life story that inspired it.
“It does center around these kids who work the fields alongside their parents and run themselves right to school that morning. And then when school’s out they go back to these fields.… And a man comes in and gives them a sense of direction. He doesn’t have one himself. These kids, by the way he sees them, have this incredible endurance, and they don’t really have a lot of opportunities. Out of this comes this cross-country team that not only starts to run, but they end up winning nine state championships…something magical happened in this town.”
Costner went on to explain how he was drawn to the movie through a very real-life connection. A native of Lynwood, Calif. (only 150 miles from McFarland), Costner remembers when the McFarland cross-country team first rose to prominence.