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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hollywood newcomer Carlos Pratts gives “McFarland” his best

Carlos Pratts entered the audition process for a project titled “McFarland” in an attempt to land the role of Danny Diaz, a heavy set yet sensitive day laborer, and was met with disappointment when the casting director told him that he wasn’t suited for the role. His heart nearly sank until it was suggested he would be better suited for Thomas Valles, the captain of the historic champion cross-country team.

Carlos Pratts on set of the indie film "Coyote: The Movie"
All Rights to the producers and crew of Coyote the Movie (2013)

“Honestly I was excited to see who was going to be Thomas, I knew the role would go to someone great,” Pratts said.

After a multi-round audition process, Pratts landed the headlining role. Now his name is plastered on billboards, posters, trailers, and more right next to his Academy Award winning co-star Kevin Costner.

Carlos Pratts, the man who will soon need no introduction:

Known for his roles in “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” and FX’s “The Bridge”, “McFarland USA” will be Pratts’ first major motion picture and it’s debuting to cheering audiences and raving reviews, his movie career is taking a big step in the right direction.

Still of Demian Bichir and Carlos Pratts in The Bridge (2013)

Big name entertainment outlets are praising his performance with Forbes describing him as “flat-out supurb” and Variety describing how the “excellent” Pratts “brings a grave emotional intensity to the role of the team’s most compelling individual.” The Hollywood Reporter describes his performance as “convincing” and it will be no surprise when Pratt’s name is tossed around during the 2015-2016 awards season.

Anyone who listens to Pratts talk about the film and his experience is humbling for anyone around him. His genuine heartfelt personality shines through with every word he speaks and continues to influence his on screen performance.

“This is all just very new to me and I’m living in this moment. I’m thankful for each day.” The ever humble actor is still in shock in reaction to all the praise coming his way. “Since production I’ve actually been going to church more. I’m so thankful every day.”

With his endearing humility Pratts, it’s no surprise that when asked about the early chatter of him being the next Hollywood heartthrob, he just hoped people will focus more on his work than his looks.

Still of Kevin Costner and Carlos Pratts in McFarland, USA (2015)
Photo by Ron Phillips - © 2014 - Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“There’s more to a person than just their outward appearance. And that’s important in this industry, but I’m more than what’s on the surface.” Although, he did thank the ladies for their attention; Pratts did not disclose his relationship status.

Pratts’ big movie star dream? To be the first Latino Marvel superhero. Maybe it’s time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to give some screen time to Captain Universe.

About “McFarland, USA”

McFarland is a town in central California, just a few miles north of Bakersfield. It is a simple town in the middle of nowhere, but in 1987 this mainly Latino populated farm-working town was the home of the first ever California Cross-Country State Champions. Captain Thomas Valles, under the advisory of Coach Jim White, led the unlikely team of field working students to victory and beyond.

“I met him (the real Thomas Valles) and Coach White for a minute, but I was in between scenes. Though I did see them again later when we screened the movie for the first time.” Pratts disclosed.

The original members of the team made their appearances in the film and the real Thomas Valles, who to this day still works with the McFarland track and field teams, were proud of the film and have publicly stated their gratitude for the film and that their story is being told.

Still of Kevin Costner, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Hector Duran, Rafael Martinez and Sergio Avelar in McFarland, USA (2015)
© 2014 - Walt Disney Studios

Just like the original 1987 team, a real brotherhood was formed during production with the actors portraying the teammates. Pratts said that reuniting with the boys, while filming the Juanes music video for “Juntos (Together)” in the town of McFarland, felt like a day hadn’t passed and they picked up just where they left off.

“My castmates are my family,” Pratts said. “I’m so blessed.”

It’s apparent that these men, especially Carlos Pratts, are showing that Latinos have a place in Hollywood and they’re not slowing down … literally.

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