‘Jockey’ Races Into Movie Theaters

Stella McDaniel

“Out of all the factors you do in daily life, there is that 1 minute that you truly feel like you’re the most vital issue in the planet for the reason that everybody’s watching you.” —Leo Brock in the film “Jockey,” played by authentic-lifetime rider Logan Cormier.

Horse racing returns to the silver screen this winter with the launch of “Jockey,” though with a distinct concentration than blockbuster Hollywood movies like “Seabiscuit” and “Secretariat.” This time the action is based mostly not on a true-everyday living tale and a famed horse, but instead on an getting older, ailing rider, hopeful of persisting in the twilight of his occupation.

The movie opens Dec. 29 in Los Angeles and New York ahead of a nationwide launch someday in early 2022.

Properly, it was in the twilight several hours that taking pictures took put. Captured largely in excess of a few weeks at Turf Paradise in Phoenix in early 2020, preceding the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, its location is normally as the day’s ultimate rays of solar dip in the Arizona landscape, bathing the characters in glow and shadow. 

Directed by Clint Bentley, who co-wrote the movie with Greg Kwedar, it stars Clifton Collins Jr. as Jackson Silva, a fictional jockey working with aches, damaged bones, and the onset of a degenerative neurological ailment. Collins also served as govt producer.

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Image: Courtesy of Sony Images Classics

Clifton Collins Jr. plays rider Jackson Silva in the film “Jockey,” filmed at Turf Paradise

Molly Parker and Moises Arias co-star, with Parker as Ruth Wilkes, a coach of a promising young filly Arias performs Gabriel Boullait, an inexperienced rider who arrives to town claiming to be Silva’s son.

“My (late) father was a jockey,” Bentley claimed. “And I grew up in this globe of horse racing, going from observe to keep track of and in viewing that daily life. And (I) felt like there was a hole in movies that experienced been made about horse racing that did not truly show the daily life of the jockey and didn’t exhibit much of what it felt like to be at the rear of the barns. And so, that was the initially sort of process just before Greg and I jumped in and begun creating and constructing up a movie from there.”

“Jockey” focuses a lot more on the characters’ relationships and their interactions in the jockeys’ place and backstretch than demonstrating horses frequently thundering down the stretch.

“We are form of using them about the backside in a way that they sense like they’ve actually gone on a journey to a world,” Bentley mentioned.

Enjoy: Filmmakers Talk about Making of the Motion picture ‘Jockey’

It just isn’t really hard to consider Collins or Arias as jockeys, as they are surrounded by genuine-everyday living riders acting in the film. Logan Cormier, whose have riding profession has been derailed by crime and drug abuse, has the most memorable part as Leo Brock, a character eventually hospitalized immediately after getting unseated through a race. It is 1 of his traces that is featured in the movie’s trailer.


Turf Paradise jockey Scott Stevens also has a minimal performing function, and other riders—some lively at the time, some retired—make appearances.

Stevens, whose Corridor of Fame brother Gary starred as George Woolf in “Seabiscuit,” also served as a technical advisor on the film, as did Quarter Horse jockey G. R. Carter and trainer Stacy Campo. Scott Stevens mentioned his most important undertaking was to ensure realism in the film. He noted his acting position could have been even greater.

“I experienced a scene where by I basically punched the bug boy in the race, in the movie—What the hecks his identify? Moises?—We had a scene where by he ran above me in a race. Anyhow, that element acquired lower out,” he stated. “For the reason that I mentioned a handful of foul words and phrases when I hit him, I imagined, now my grandkids usually are not gonna get to view the movie. But that part arrived out of it, so which is very good.”

Scott and Gary Stevens are in pick enterprise, seemingly the initial brothers to win 5,000 races apiece and act in two Hollywood flicks. Both of those are now retired from using.

Scott Stevens - 5,000th Career Win - Turf Paradise - 030920
Image: Coady Pictures

Scott Stevens soon after scoring his 5,000th occupation victory subsequent a race at Turf Paradise

Scott Stevens mentioned filming would primarily consider position near dawn and sunset, positioned outside the hours of racing at Turf Paradise.

“We filmed some of it just before (racing), like early in the morning, the scenes in the mornings. The way they did it—I mean, it was reduced spending budget, you know, these fellas failed to have no extravagant devices,” he recalled. “And then they would do some of it soon after the races simply because they were being genuinely key on the lights. The sunset experienced to be just proper. And that’s mainly when we did it. I imagine we did two times when it was an off working day.”

With an even far more popular on-screen part than Stevens in the film is Turf Paradise basic supervisor Vince Francia, who performs Ronnie Langford, a horse veterinarian who X-rays the principal character and advises him to see a doctor. That scene also made the trailer.

When initial available the purpose, Francia claimed he to begin with imagined filmmakers were just accomplishing it as a gesture of thanks for enabling filming at Turf Paradise. He ultimately acknowledged the possibility, and found himself one particular-on-one with Collins, a seasoned movie and television actor, as Bentley filmed.

Francia experienced under no circumstances acted.

“While I suppose I’ve been a mayor for 16 a long time of the town of Cave Creek, and I’ve been with Turf Paradise, oh geez, for 30 several years, perhaps that could be deemed performing,” Francia quipped.

At first, they tried using a number of can take, pursuing the script, not with the desired final result. So they modified issues up.

“You will find absolutely nothing ‘Hollywood’ about Clifton he’s just so effortless to be all-around,” Francia stated. “We kind of looked at each other, and we questioned Clint, ‘Could you just let us—We know what you want. We know what this thing calls for. Just permit us advert-lib it, take it from there?’—And so he did, and it took us I believe about 10 usually takes, two hours, and that is the consequence.”

A different consequence was that Francia gained a verify for his perform from the Screen Actors Guild. “It truly is framed,” he claimed.

Collins gained the U.S. Spectacular Unique Jury Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for his acting in the movie. Landing in the pageant was “outstanding” for exposure and distribution for “Jockey,” Bentley reported.

“It really is propped up so several wonderful films from the American impartial scene and the entire world independent cinema,” Bentley mentioned of Sundance. “It was constantly a aspiration of ours to have a motion picture perform there. We sent a great deal of flicks about that failed to make it in, and so this one particular, to not only go to Sundance but then also be picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, which if you’re trying to obtain a distributor for a motion picture like this, who’s heading to actually consider care of it and genuinely get it out to the environment and in a genuinely thoughtful way, you could not come across a superior spouse than Sony Classics.”

Kwedar observed how accommodating Turf Paradise workers and nearby horsemen ended up all through filming, “opening their world for us.”

Horses race during the filming of "Jockey" at Turf Paradise
Photograph: Courtesy of Sony Images Classics

A however of a horse race captured during the filming of “Jockey” at Turf Paradise

The option of Turf Paradise was also distinctive in that it is not an A-Listing observe like Santa Anita Park or Keeneland, which have previously been made use of for movies. Turf Paradise, which opened in 1956, is very much a functioning-class keep track of, and like the movie’s most important character, displays indications of age.

“Turf Paradise alone, past just the axis that was supplied, nevertheless has that sort of legendary feel of the juxtaposition of its heyday, when previous Hollywood stars would fly out on the weekend and would be in their Sunday most effective, to form of getting its age and character display but still have like, type of its former glory,” Kwedar reported.

Francia explained he is operating to attain a non-public displaying of the film for neighborhood horsemen, probably in March, both at Turf Paradise or at a film theatre.

Stevens expects these who see the film will like it.

“I assume it turned out rather superior. Properly, naturally it is mainly because it (produced) the Sundance Film Competition,” he stated. “They told me this is like buying a horse for $5,000 and profitable the Kentucky Derby for what they’ve accomplished with it previously.”

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