I thought Seabiscuit was pretty good. Tobey Maguire was a bit off as the jockey, but overall, it was an enjoyable film. I dig horse racing films overall — honestly, I just like movies about animals (as long as they’re not about special ops hamsters or some other dumb shit). In any event, it’s a bit of a surprise that a movie about Secretariat hasn’t been made before. Arguably the most well-known race horse, Secretariat was one of only 11 horses to win the U.S. Triple Crown, and when he did it in 1973, no one had done so in 25 years. It’s a pretty compelling story.
Now, Disney (of course) has a film adaptation due out, and I have to admit, the trailer looks fun. They’ve got a juggernaut of a cast — Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Scott Glenn, James Cromwell, Dylan Baker, and Fred Thompson — so it ain’t exactly short on acting talent. The film focuses on Penny Chenery (Lane), the owner of the horse, and her path to Secretariat’s glory.
Interestingly, the trailer for Secretariat has almost no footage of the jockey. I’m guessing that’s because with they’re trying to pitch the film based on names, and the actor who plays jockey Ron Turcotte is Otto Thorwarth. If you’ve never heard of him, well, that’s because he’s an actual jockey, which I think is an excellent move on their part. Jockeys are of a pretty specific physical type, and even if they’d cast Tom Cruise, he’d still be too tall. Though likely not by much. Regardless, using real jockeys isn’t exactly unprecedented — in fact, Gary Stevens (playing opposing jockey George Woolf) was one of the best parts of Seabiscuit.
Anyway. It’s all very Disneyfied, triumph-of-the-human-spirit-ish, but still. It looks like a good time. Of course, this will likely spawn the inevitable discussion about the pros and cons of horse racing and whether or not it’s cruel, but hey — that’s what comment sections are for.