He captured the heart of America as the lovable longshot, “Rudy,” and earned iconic status as the hobbit Samwise Gamgee in “Lord of the Rings,” but Sean Astin is also about to seize the affection of horse racing fans with his film “And They’re Off,” set to release Friday, Oct. 28. We spoke with Astin to learn about his career in Hollywood and his experience playing a failed horse trainer searching for a second chance at success in the mockumentary film coming to Louisville just in time for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
What was it like shooting a mockumentary?
Your mindset has to be a little different and the comedy is different. You get to play a lot and get to ad lib, but that’s the premise: We’re all here, so have some fun.
Do you know much about horse racing?
I watch the Kentucky Derby and I love going and betting and talking to the trainers. If we were at the track, I would be able to keep up with the conversation, but I wouldn’t say I’d be able to lead it.
Have you ever been to the Derby?
I got to go and have a full tour of every inch of Churchill Downs, talk to some of the trainers and the jockeys and walk right up to the horses two days before the event, but I had to go shoot a movie, so I didn’t get to go to the actual event.
What movie role would you say has been the most meaningful to you?
Every movie represents a different moment in your life. I was making a movie when my children were born, so I love those for that reason. Some of them, it’s so much fun to film them you don’t care if the movie turns out terrible. (Roles in “Rudy,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “The Goonies”) are kind of the defining roles of my career. “Rudy” is probably the closest to me and my life story and thinking and feeling and approach to life.
You have been married for almost 20 years and have three daughters. What would you say is your secret to having a successful family life in Hollywood?
Christine (my wife) is a really powerful woman. She’s very strong and incredibly supportive and obviously we love each other. It’s kind of a theme here, but we just keep showing up.
Is there anything you wish you would have pursued besides acting?
I’ve always wanted a public policy degree. Just that training, that education and being able to sit and talk to the professors about how government works. But who knows, there’s still time.
You’ve been involved in politics and have advocated for improvements in the education system and literacy. Why have you chosen to get involved with these issues?
I’m passionate. I care about people and progress and human growth and development. I feel like I’ve been given so many gifts. I just feel duty-bound to go out there and do it.
What else do you have coming up in the future?
We have a movie we’re putting together. It’s a film adaptation of “Number the Stars.” It’s a story of inner-faith and civic achievement. And we’re really working hard on this movie (“And They’re Off”). It’s a fun little movie by Alan Grossbard. He’s the reason the movie came into being. It’s just so funny and so quirky and we put together a great cast of actors. People always wish that (films) get made about the things they love, and if the horse racing community wants to support it, they need to know about it.
For information on “And They’re Off,” visit www.andtheyreoffmovie.com.
Category: The Spotlight
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).