Moises Arias interview: ‘Jockey’

Moisés Arias doesn’t shy away from professing how much he loved shooting his latest film “Jockey,” in which he lived and breathed the life of real-life competitive jockeys within a tight-knit horse racing community in regional Arizona. “To feel a part of that culture, feel like you’re immersed in this horse racing world with the owners and obviously the jockeys and the trainers,” he admits, “was really refreshing and beautiful.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“Jockey” stars Clifton Collins, Jr. as Jackson, an aging jockey who after decades on the horse-racing circuit enduring physical injuries, is grappling with failing health and the realization that he is in the twilight of his career. Determined to win one last championship, his dreams are complicated when Gabriel (Arias), a younger up-and-coming rookie shows up claiming to be his son.

The indie drama, also starring Molly Parker as Jackson’s longtime confidant, was written by Greg Kwedar and Clint Bentley, who makes his feature directorial debut. The film had its world premiere at Sundance last winter, where Collins won the coveted Special Jury Award for Best Actor.

It’s fitting that the up-and-coming actor played an up-and-coming jockey in the film, as Arias seems to naturally imbue Gabriel with a fascinating wide-eyed ambition and tenacity that you’d expect to see from a newcomer hoping to make his mark. The film is also at its most compelling when Collins’ older, wiser Jackson takes Gabriel under his wing, drawing inevitable parallels with the relationship Arias has with leading man Collins. “I’ve known him for a very long time, so to see him again was incredibly exciting. I mean he’s a really prepared, inspiring sort of actor to work with, he’s so down for you to go to his room and talk about ‘oh well, this is something that I wanted to run by you,’ or if you come to him and it’s like, ‘I’m feeling something like this for tomorrow,'” he explains.

Arias also praises the crew on the film, working on a minuscule budget under the director’s leadership with Adolpho Veloso, guiding the shoot as cinematographer. “I’ve done quite a few projects with small budgets, but this was by far the smallest group of people and I think that only helped us to get things done,” Arias says. “Our cinematographer liked to use available light and with a lot of sunrises and sunsets, so all these things created a pace and created a tone,” he recalls. Shooting many of the outdoor scenes either at dawn or at dusk, utilizing the light of the so-called “magical hours,” was key to understanding the characters, Arias says. “The lifestyle that these guys have really is waking up at the break of dawn and racing really later on in the evening during sunset. In terms of that helping me feel what the end of the day is for the career of Jackson, or a sunrise for just the beginning of Gabriel’s career,” he explains, “these are all things that Clint and Adolfo played with.”

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UPLOADED Dec 23, 2021 7:00 am