The "McFarland, USA" director was having a difficult time finding the right seven actors to play the cross country runners in her sports film. Her commitment to authenticity meant not having someone star in the movie who looked like his longest bit of exercise was going from the snack bar back to his trailer.
She found what she needed in Ramiro Rodriguez and Sergio Avelar, from McFarland, and Michael Aguero, who attended Bakersfield's East High School. The fact none of them had ever acted in a movie meant Caro was placing the fate of a big-studio movie on inexperienced actors.
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