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SEABISCUIT

About The Production (Continued)
While many of the roles in the film were open for casting, Ross had specifically created three parts for three specific actors—starting with Tobey Maguire as the jockey Red Pollard. Ross and Maguire had known each other since the filmmaker had cast him in Pleasantville as a teenage boy nostalgic for a time that never was. 

"I ran into Gary,” Maguire recalls, "and he said ‘Why don't you pick up a copy of Seabiscuit and have a read?,' which is exactly what I did. I read the book and I thought it was fantastic. I just loved it.” 

Johnny "Red” Pollard had lived a hardscrabble life; abandoned at a track when he was still a boy, he struggled to make his way in a difficult world. Money he earned from amateur and often brutal boxing matches supplemented the meager income he made doing the one thing he loved—racing a horse. 

Pollard was an anomaly, even among jockeys. In spite of his vagabond life, he always carried a bag of books, spun fantastic tales and quoted Shakespeare in the jockey's room. The too-tall jockey with a shock of crimson hair was a bundle of contradictions, a complex and enigmatic man. 

Ross saw similarities in Maguire and Pollard and explains, "I knew Tobey. He has lived a difficult life and I knew he had a fire in him—a complexity and an innate toughness.”

"I think Tobey is a De Niro of the new generation,” notes Kennedy. "There is an edge to him as well as a vulnerability, and I think that's what Gary was looking for in casting the role of Pollard. There's a lot of rage and anger in Red, and at the same time, his connection with Seabiscuit was like no other jockey that came in contact with this horse. When the two of them came together, they kind of calmed each other down… enough for Red to discover who he was as a jockey and Seabiscuit to transform into a championship race horse.” 

Maguire's list of roles in varied films like Pleasantville, The Ice Storm, Wonder Boys and Cider House Rules have earned him the respect and admiration of critics and the public alike. Coming off the tremendous success of Spider-Man and gearing up for the sequel, Maguire says Seabiscuit was a perfect opportunity for him. 

"This is a great role for me," explains the young actor. "I want to challenge myself and find different things to play. I think this is a great next step for me. It's funny because Gary Ross knows me so well. He knew this would appeal to me.” 

"I think Tobey is immensely talented,” adds Ross, "and I love working with him. He is street-smart and yet there is an incredible kind of compassion and wisdom in him. There is an understanding and a generosity of spirit that he has for his friends and loved ones that is very touching. And those were a lot of the contradictions that I saw in the character of Red Pollard.” 

"I think what's interesting,” continues Maguire, "is that all three of the characters isolate themselves. They are lonely characters who have shut themselves off for various reasons. Tom Smith is in a new world that he doesn't belong in, Charles Howard loses his son and my character loses his family home. Seabiscuit is the unlikely charm that brings the three of us together.” 

In addition to being a self-made man and a spirited entrepreneur, Charles Howard was an incredible showman. As producer Kennedy notes, "He exemplifies that kind of corporate P.T. Barnum, a larger-than-life character. Howard went from bicycle repairman to changing the landscape of the West, opening the first Buick dealership, popularizing the automobile and becoming a wealthy man.” 

Four-time Academy Award® nominee Jeff Bridges was signed to play Charles Howard, a role he inhabits with charismatic authority. "Charles Howard is the linchpin in this group of people,” notes Ross. "I was so lucky to have Jeff. He's such a great actor, with such a long career and so many un

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