(from Santa Anita release)
Two-time Academy Award winning actor Dustin Hoffman will be plying his trade at Santa Anita, portraying a paroled ex-con in the leading role of producer David Milch's HBO pilot “Luck.” The program is being directed by the internationally renowned Michael Mann.
Written by Milch, who is a two-time Breeders’ Cup-winning Thoroughbred owner and whose credits include “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood,” “Luck” has also attracted actors Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina and John Ortiz. The series will be centered on the world of horseracing and will develop story lines relating to those involved in the industry.
Production on “Luck” will begin March 29 and will continue through April. Of the 24 days allocated to shooting the pilot, 19 are scheduled to be shot at Santa Anita.
Mann, whose directing credits include “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Collateral,” “Miami Vice,” “The Insider” and “Ali,” is familiar with Santa Anita. One of his latest films, “Public Enemies,” was shot in part at Santa Anita.
Ortiz, who has starred in “American Gangster” and “Public Enemies,” will play the part of a trainer based loosely on real-life conditioner Julio Canani, who won the 1989 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) with Martial Law.
“A project of this magnitude is obviously a major undertaking for all of us here at Santa Anita,” said Pete Siberell, Santa Anita’s director of community and special events. “Filming is underway and it will encompass many areas—the grandstand, box seats, Paddock Room, Top of the Stretch, the walking ring and saddling paddock, the racetrack itself and the stable area.
“On any given day, we’ll have between 100 and 500 crew, cast and extras on-site here. Mr. Milch and Mr. Mann expressed a strong desire to shoot much of this pilot while we were running live, which we will be, through April 18. It’s going to require a great deal of cooperation and teamwork, and we believe that the finished product is going to be well worth it.
“‘Seabiscuit’ was a monumental undertaking here eight years ago, but that was not shot while we were conducting live racing. A production this big has never been attempted during live racing so this obviously makes it very challenging. I think that due to the fact our horsemen are familiar with David Milch and what he’s accomplished in racing and in the entertainment business, they’ve been very supportive of the project.”
Retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who garnered wide-spread acclaim for his portrayal of George Woolf in 2003’s “Seabiscuit,” will play the part of an aging, street-smart jockey in “Luck.”
HBO has not announced an air date for the pilot, but it is expected that it will be ready to air in early 2011. Should HBO make a decision to proceed with “Luck” as an episodic series, shooting for multiple season-one episodes would begin at Santa Anita sometime next year.