Exclusive: Kevin Costner Talks ‘McFarland USA’ & How Giving Kids Hope Can Change Their Lives
McFarland USA is Disney’s latest film that pulls on your heartstrings and makes you believe anything is possible. But, unlike many of Walt Disney’s animated features, this is based on a true story. Dreams can come true in real life, and coach Jim White and his fantastic cross country runners from McFarland high school defied all odds against them and became champions! If you like sports movies, you’ll enjoy this. A down on his luck, high school football coach, transfers to McFarland high school due to a line of lost jobs. Basically, it is his last option. The town, bursting with Mexicans is very poor and many of the residents are ‘pickers’ or people that pick vegetable and other produce from the fields. Most have a lack of education and believe that a life in the fields is the best their gonna get. But, Jim White observes their natural running ability and convinces 7 boys to create a cross country team and compete to be the nations best!
We attended an exclusive chat with the star of the film, Kevin Costner (Jim White) and he spoke to us about why it’s important that more adults take the time to let young people know what amazing things are possible for their lives.
“You know, I read this story a long time ago, I don’t know it was 10, 15….I’m 60, so it was a long time ago! But, I had read about it in Sports Illustrated. And I remember being very taken with it. I had lived in the Central Valley and I actually played McFarland in high school baseball. But, I was taken with the story and then I of course, closed the page and moved on with my life. Then this movie came up. This shining cloud Nikki Carrow, said would you be in this movie? And it’s so nice to be wanted. You might think that I get everything I want. I don’t. So, to be wanted and that to match up is a great thing. And to play Jim, you know, there’s men and women all over this country who are affecting our young people. And relationships that coaches establish with young people is something cherished for life if it’s done right. There’s not a lot of Jim White’s, but there are Jim White’s. He represents the best of the best. It’s almost biblical that our children have a hard time listening to their parents. Right? There’s a moment in time when kids really don’t want to hear anything from their parents. A coach can take on that thing, and if they are from the cloth that Jim White is from, a man that somehow let them know what was possible. Not that they were gonna get it, but that this is possible for you, a goal. And with Jim White putting a goal out in front of them, look what happened. Champions. They exceeded beyond their expectations. It’s a great lesson in McFarland, that ft we give our children, our young men and women, goals, if we let them know what is possible. They can succeed beyond their wildest expectations.”
McFarland went on to win the state championship and several more until the time of Coach Jim White’s retirement. They became known as a school of champions and many of the original team members either coach the current team or teach at the middle school and high school in McFarland. All of them received college scholarships and none of them became pickers.
McFarland USA is in theaters now! Take the entire family to see it!
Watch Kevin Costner Speak Below: