There’s nothing like a good movie that pulls at your heartstrings. That’s what you’re in for with McFarland, USA – out Feb 20th in theaters everywhere. While in LA we had the opportunity to sit down with the real life inspirations behind the movie: (from left to right) Coach Jim White, David, Damacio and Danny Diaz.
The Diaz brothers and Coach White are a family. There’s no denying it after seeing them interact with one another. Jim still lives in McFarland, California today. After completing college, the first in their family to do so, the Diaz brothers returned to McFarland and now help kids by teaching and coaching them. Here’s a little more from the interview.
McFarland USA Interview: Jim White & Diaz Brothers
Q: Do you feel like the movie does a good job of describing the farming culture?
Damacio: “Yeah, we’re very, very proud of the way the movie portrayed us, our family. We were raised in the field was our life. Even after graduating college, like Danny, the day after he graduated with [a] diploma, he was in the fields working because that was, in our family, what was expected.”
Q: I wanna know is your mom really that way, because she was a scene stealer? She was amazing in the movie.
David: “Not at all. [LAUGHS] Much worse.”
Jim White: “When Mrs. Diaz saw this film the first time, she came out and she said I love the film, but they didn’t make me strict enough.”
David: “Yeah, so just to let you know: I think Hollywood did a very good job of depicting and not making it look too guilty as regarding CPS.” [LAUGHS]
Q: How often do you guys still train together?
David: “We run once in a while amongst ourselves. I still race competitively.”
Damacio: “Our kids all compete. And so, we have kids that are in high school and some that are in elementary school. I can’t keep up with my kids in high school [CHUCKLES], but I go by a little seven-year-old daughter.”
Q: I wanna know what your first reaction was when you heard that your story going to be a movie?
Jim White: “Well, from my aspect it was in various stages, because this was about a 15-year process for us, my wife and I. We signed with this one company. Two years later, we signed with another one…it took a long process. When actually Disney did it, we were thrilled very much.”
Q: I notice a lot of you became teachers. Did Coach White encourage you?
David: “He was a very inspirational part. He was one of the two or three reasons. Yeah my parents definitely pushed us to go that route.”
Jim White: Let me add one thing to that. Mr. Diaz their dad, Paul, he pushed education real hard, too. And this is what he told me — he says, I want them to get their education, so I will go back and get my education, and he did. He went back and got it.”
McFarland, USA is an encouraging story about hope and pride. I thought it was really neat to speak with the real life inspirations and get a sense of how closely this movie relates to their real lives. I hope you guys enjoyed the insider information and look out for my movie review post this Friday! Also, if you missed it – here’s the Kevin Costner interview, he plays Jim White in the movie.