Disney casting for lead roles in true-story feature film ‘McFarland’ starring Kevin Costner


Walt Disney Pictures in association with Mayhem Pictures are set to begin shooting the feature film “McFarland” in the San Joaquin Valley, California area beginning in September, 2013. The casting director will be auditioning athletic Hispanic men ages 17 to 23 with running experience to recreate an authentic realism of McFarland High Cougars’s 1990’s cross-country team, who became unlikely 9-time California champions. This film was originally scheduled to begin shooting back in January, 2012 however production was put on hold for further script development.

The film “McFarland” tells the true story of Jim “Blanco” White, a high school track and field coach who inspired his team to greatness on and off the field. Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated wrote, “No one can figure it out, how the runners with the shortest legs and the grimmest lives began winning everything once Blanco took over the program in 1980. Jim and his wife Cheryl invested endless time and love in the youth. They did much more than was required of them so the boys could receive what they otherwise would not. They were always there for them, pushing them on and always taking them on trips, to movies in a town with a theater, and on fishing trips.

Jim White’s students all were from families who were from Mexican farm worker families, and faced tremendous challenges in their personal and academic lives. McFarland, population 8,011 in 1990, is something closer to a village transplanted from south of the border. Nine in 10 residents are of Mexican descent. One-third come from the village Huanusco, in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Starring in “McFarland” is two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Costner playing the role of Coach Jim White. Costner has seen a career revitalization starting with the miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys”, for which he garnered a Primetime Emmy Award. He then played Jonathan Kent in “Man of Steel”. He recently completed starring roles in “Jack Ryan” with Keira Knightley and Cris Pine, “Draft Day” with Jennifer Garner, and “Three Days to Kill” with Amber Heard and Hailee Steinfeld. Costner is no stranger to sports related films, having starring in “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “For Love of the Game,” and the previously mentions “Draft Day”.

Critically acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro is directing “McFarland” from a screenplay written by Grant Thompson, based on the 1997 Los Angeles Times article titled “A Labor of Love for Boys of McFarland”. Caro wrote and directed the Academy Award nominated film “Whale Rider” starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, and also directed the Warner Bros. Pictures film “North Country” starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, and she wrote/produced/directed the fascinating romantic film “The Vintner’s Luck” starring Academy Award nominated actors Vera Farmiga and Keisha Castle-Hughes. Caro also penned the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures film “The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky,” based on the true story of a boy who died in the 1988 Pam Am Flight 103 airline terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Mayhem Pictures’ Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray are producing “McFarland”. Ciardi and Gray previously produced three Disney sports drama feature films – “Miracle,” “Invincible,” and “Secretariat”. They also produced the Walt Disney Pictures films “The Game Plan,” “The Rookie,” the currently filming “Million Dollar Arm” and the upcoming “Wish List”. The sports film productions by Mayham Pictures is in part due to the fact that Mark Ciardi is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He played one major league season for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987.

The following roles will be cast:

Athletic Hispanic men ages 17 to 23 with running experience to portray the McFarland High’s championship cross-country teams of the 1980’s. All roles to play high school student age. The runners come from rural California poverty stricken families. They pick fruit in the fields as well as attend school and run cross-country. Among the supporting roles to be cast are the following:

• Jose Perezchica, Hispanic. One of “the two Joses” – top runners on the team.
• Jose Arambula, Hispanic. One of “the two Joses” – top runners on the team.
• Galvin Ballardo, Hispanic. The finest runner ever on the team.
• Rudy Ballardo, Hispanic. Galvin’s younger brother blessed with the same talent.
• Miguel Aguilar, Hispanic. Ran in the No. 3 spot until Rudy rejoined the squad.
• Amador Ayon, Hispanic. Member of one of the championship teams.
• Thomas Valles, Hispanic. Member of one of the championship teams.
• Ruben Ozuna, Hispanic. Member of one of the championship teams.
• David Diaz, Hispanic. Member of one of the championship teams.

All talent must be legally eligible to work in the state of California and in the United States.

Principal Actor Casting

See the post titled Headshot and Resume Information regarding how to submit for acting roles.

Submit photos and resumes by mail only.
No phone calls or personal drop-offs.

Vanessa Rodriguez
Sheila Jaffe Casting
6671 Sunset Blvd.
Building 1509
Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Extras Casting


Casting calls will be posted here. Check back.

Production Companies:

Do NOT send photos and resumes to the production companies, as they will most likely end up being thrown away. They do not cast the films, rather they hire casting directors who sort through the thousands of submissions.

Walt Disney Pictures
500 S Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91521

Mayhem Pictures
725 Arizona Ave
Suite 302
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Producers: Gordon Gray, Mark Ciardi

Director: Niki Caro

Starring: Kevin Costner – Jim “Blanco” White


Based on a true story and in the tone of “Remember The Titans”, the story is set in McFarland, CA (in Central Valley), a town that is comprised of 98 percent first generation Latinos (some legal, some not). The predominant occupation is migrant farming (even the children partake) and a high school coach (Coach White) comes to town with the intention of creating a viable after-school alternative, starting a cross-country team. They go on to win State that year and ultimately create a dynasty, winning State 8 years consecutively.



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John Done is a casting auditions writer.

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