Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

'Whale Rider' Director Niki Caro To Helm Track & Field Drama 'McFarland'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 26, 2011 at 11:07AM

After the poorly received Charlize Theron-starrer “North Country” and the even more poorly received/barely-distributed 2009 film “The Vintner’s Luck,” it looked like Niki Caro had used up all of the goodwill earned from her Oscar-nominated breakthrough film, “Whale Rider.” That’s saying something, too, as people loved “Whale Rider.” Miraculously, Caro has avoided director jail, and not only recently managed to line up a Maria Callas biopic, but now Disney wants her to helm the track and field drama “McFarland.”
0


After the poorly received Charlize Theron-starrer “North Country” and the even more poorly received/barely-distributed 2009 film “The Vintner’s Luck,” it looked like Niki Caro had used up all of the goodwill earned from her Oscar-nominated breakthrough film, “Whale Rider.” That’s saying something, too, as people loved “Whale Rider.” Miraculously, Caro has avoided director jail, and not only recently managed to line up a Maria Callas biopic, but now Disney wants her to helm the track and field drama “McFarland.”

The film is based on the true story of a coach in the small, predominantly Latino town of McFarland, California, during the 1980s, who turned a track team into champions. Coming from the studio that brought you “Invincible,” “The Rookie” and “Secretariat,” it’s safe to assume “McFarland” will stick to the Disney sports formula of beating the odds and somehow winning in the face of adversity.

Directing an inspirational mainstream film seems like a smart move for Caro. “Whale Rider” won the Sundance and Toronto Audience Awards, pulling in $20 million domestically. Caro’s “Whale Rider” follow-up, “North Country,” was a noble attempt to dramatize a landmark sexual harassment case. That film, despite its many flaws, showed a willingness to address important societal issues. It will be interesting to see how Caro deals with the ethnological aspects of “McFarland.” This being a Disney true story, it’s safe to assume the racial politics of the film will be less “Do the Right Thing” and more “Remember the Titans.”

Disney is looking for a star to attach to the project before they start shooting next year. With Denzel Washington, Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg all carrying Disney sports movies of the past, there are quite a few A- or B-listers who could step up to the starting block on this one. In The Hollywood Reporter’s write-up, the gender of the “McFarland” coach is unclear, and we’re crossing our fingers for a Disney sports drama female lead for once. Why does Carla Cugino have to go outside the studio system to play a basketball coach? And Diane Lane in “Secretariat” doesn’t count. She didn’t play a jockey, and there’s nothing athletic about owning a horse. --Ryan Sartor

This article is related to: Films, Niki Caro, Sports Films, McFarland, USA


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates