Disney open casting call for ‘McFarland’ supporting roles based on true story

*** Click Here for the new updated “McFarland” casting post ***


Disney McFarland Open Casting Call

Walt Disney Pictures “McFarland” will film in Central California.

Walt Disney Pictures in association with Mayhem Pictures are set to begin shooting the major motion picture “McFarland” in the San Joaquin Valley, California area beginning January, 2012. The casting director is seeking 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. An open casting call is scheduled in Bakersfield, CA on December 17, 2011.

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.

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,” 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.

Open Casting Call Details

The casting director is seeking athletic Hispanic men ages 17 to 23 with running experience to portray the McFarland High’s championship cross-country teams of the 1980’s and/or 90’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.

You DO NOT need to have any previous acting experience, and you DO NOT need to be signed with a talent agent to attend the casting call or be hired as an actor in this film.


East Bakersfield Veterans Building
2102 Ridge Road
Bakersfield, CA 93305
(near the intersection with Mt. Vernon)
Click Here for directions.


Saturday, December 17, 2011
12:00pm – 3:00pm

Please bring a pen and be prepared to fill out a form with your physical stats, running experience, and all contact information including phone number. The casting director has asked that you DO NOT talk on cell phones at the open casting call.

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

The following information and documents may be needed for for minors and foreign talent who would like to audition for “McFarland” or work as an extra on the film:

• USA Child Actor Work Permit Requirements
• California Child Actor Permit Application
• California Minors Summary Chart
• Child Actor Coogan Trust Deposit Instructions
• California Division of Labor Standards Offices
• Immigration Work Permit Information
• Non-Immigrant Visa Application

In addition to the following Los Angeles Actors Resources:

• Audition Tips
• How To Make an Audition Video
• Casting Directors List
• Talent Agents List
• General Talent Agent Information
• Los Angeles Acting Classes List
• Acting Classes for Young Actors in Los Angeles
• Headshot Photographers List
• Actors Unions
• Sample Actors Resume
• Sample Beginning Actors Resume
• Sample Cover Letters
• Entertainment Industry Terminology
• Miscellaneous Los Angeles Resources
• Actors Unions
• PDF Users Guides

Principal Actor Casting

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

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


Extras Casting


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


Gordon Gray
Mark Ciardi


Niki Caro


To Be Cast


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.


About Author

John Done is a casting auditions writer.

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