Interviewing The 7 McFarland USA Actors

Interviewing The 7 McFarland USA Actors

*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.

Meeting the seven characters of McFarland USA was a great way to spend a quick hour in LA! Each of the young men have a great outlook on life and I truly believe that each one of them will go far in life. The seven young men were delightful, humble, encouraging and of course true inspirations both on screen and off. The seven we interviewed were: Johnny Ortiz, Michael Aguero, Sergio Avelar, Ramiro Rodriguez, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran and Carlos Pratts.

McFarlandUSAInterviewing The 7 McFarland USA Actors

Working with Kevin Costner

Working with Kevin Costner was a great experience for all of the young actors. They said, “he is a great legend, a humble guy, with a big heart and they swear he has more stories than a library.”  He even shared his life experiences with them, and they all feel very fortunate to have worked with such a great actor. But even great actor’s forget their lines, and Hector Duran corrected him on the set of McFarlandUSA which was taken in stride by Kevin Costner. 

 Working with Kevin Costner is so much more than amazing! Carlos Pratt

CarlosPratt Hector Duran

Each young man had a different story to tell and could relate to their characters in their own way. But three of the young men on the team were actually from the McFarland Area. They were as follows: 

  • Sergio Avelar who plays Victor Puentes and shared with us that Thomas Valles took them running from a young age because he was their running coach. 
  • Michael Aguero, cast as Damacio Diaz, who was an actual runner. 
  • Ramiro Rodriguez, as Danny Diaz, was a champion soccer player. Who actually had Danny Diaz as a school counselor. 

Ramiro Rodriguez goes to the building where McFarland was filmed and says, “it’s not a dream.”

Ramiro Rodriguez

McFarland Changes

McFarland has changed but it is surreal as well as a blessing for the town as well as for those personally involved in the film. There is less crime, less gangsters and is in the national spotlight for the first time. McFarland is between Bakersfield and Visalia and  is coming together like a community, and people are proud to be from McFarland! 

Sergio Avelar

Sergio Avelar shared with us that McFarland was once know only as a town that smelled of cows when you passed. 

Being from McFarland once meant working in the fields, the oil fields or going to prison, but with this movie the people of McFarland have the world in front of them. The Diaz brothers as well as Jim White still show the community a lot of support and the boys find it amazing that they do everything they do for the community. They all can’t wait to see the positive things that happen in McFarland because of McFarland USA.


Being a movie about sports/running I went into the interview expecting them to have done lots of training. But found out that the most training that anyone did was a month but as little as a week for some characters. But during that time they did lots of cardio, but it wasn’t about the training or the cardio but in fact it was the great chemistry that they all had with Kevin Costner, and Niki Caro. They all worked out together and done some running, for training they did 5-6 miles a day for a warm up, followed by some hardcore elliptical riding, and then the training. But when they were filming ont he set Hector Duran shared, “That they did a lot more running that what we saw in the movie, because of different angles, and other things needed while filming.” 

Johnny Ortiz shared that they did a lot of cardio during their training for McFarlandUSA and that running is a really hard sport because he kept getting shin splints. 



 TV or Movies?

Carlos told us that movies are a lot different from TV in the fact that TC is very fast and you don’t know where your character is going, in a movie you have more of an arc. Which results in more of a trust in the script and confidence in the film. 

But as with many young men or even actors, they don’t necessarily know what is next. They have their doors open, audition for anything that they would want to pursue, as well as reading scripts and working on project that fit them. But most importantly they are figuring out what image they want to portray next, as well as praying to God that they get more jobs. 

Johnny Ortiz says it is very important to pick his roles. 



Michael Aguero’s first time to the beach really happened in this movie. 


Rafael said, “I want to say I know what I’m going to do next and what’s next for me, but I’ll be very honest. I don’t really know.”


All seven of the actors are thankful for Disney bringing an amazing story, and people to life. McFarlandaUSA is a very inspirational film that everyone can take away something from. Motivation, dedication, inspiration and hard work make everything possible, but we all need to remember to pay attention so we don’t miss our McFarland Moment.


*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.



Money saving Mom/Grandmother of 1, who loves to travel, cook, and of course spend time with family. Fun.Travel.Food not necessarily in that order serving Missouri and beyond!

Leave a Reply

Notify of