Rising actor Carlos Pratt gives The DivaGals his scoop on the new movie McFarland, USA, which opens this Friday.
Hi Carlos, can you tell us what the film is about?
It’s based on a real-life story. In 1987 there was a man, Jim White, who didn’t see a future for himself. He gets a job at McFarland High School in McFarland, Calif., a predominantly Latino neighborhood, and he discovers a talented group of seven kids that have the potential of being more than just students. They end up becoming the national championship track team.
And you play one of the students?
Yes, Thomas. He’s one of those guys ΓÇª he didnΓÇÖt talk to people. And he didnΓÇÖt like this white guy coming at him giving him orders. HeΓÇÖs Latino and at the time his people weren’t being respected — Thomas was tired of it. ItΓÇÖs not until he opens up his mind that he realizes that this man isn’t trying to tell him what to do.
Obviously, you do some running in the film! How was the training process?
There were a lot of tears shed; it wasnΓÇÖt the easiest training. It was so rigorous. It was also awesome, and IΓÇÖm grateful for it. Even though there were times I wanted to quit, it was still exciting.
Have you become a runner since starring in the film?
I played football in high school and wrestled, but was never really a runner. Having done it now, I have so much respect for it. ItΓÇÖs a tough sport. I probably run 2-3 times a week now, and I play basketball every day.
Why is this an important story for the Latino community, and for American history?
This story is not only important for Latinos; itΓÇÖs for everybody. The moral is that you have to believe in yourself and follow through. I really hope that the next generation — the younger kids — get that message so much more, because for me those are the ones that can really benefit.
Catch Carlos in McFarland, USA when the movie opens Friday, Feb. 20.
photo credit: Disney