The Long Game,  with Dennis Quaid produced by Canelo
Courtesy Mucho Más Media

MIAMI - It's hard to imagine something that includes the names of Hollywood icon Dennis Quaid and Mexican superstar boxer Saúl 'Canelo' Álvarez. Luckily, nobody has to. That 'something' has been made into the movie 'The Long Game', about a group of Mexican-American young golfers who defied all the odds and a good dose of racism. In interviews with The Latin Times, Quaid and Canelo agreed on the importance "of telling stories that show the totality of the American dream."

Also, "It's essential for Latino youth to see themselves on the screen and for the rest of the world to see who we are and what we can do," said the Mexican boxer, known for defying the odds.

Inspired by Humberto G. García's book "Mustang Miracle," and directed by Julio Quintana, the film "The Long Game" tells the true story of the San Felipe Mustangs, a group of five Mexican-American youth who, in 1955, created their golf course under the guidance of their amateur teacher, JB Peña (Jay Hernández), who was also of Mexican descent.

Fighting racism

"I grew up in Texas. I remember segregation, separate bathrooms, and separate drinking fountains. People of color had to sit in the balcony, and looking back, it seemed strange, even when I was a child," remembered Quaid, who not only acted in 'The Long Game' but also produced the movie with his new wife, Laura Quaid. "Now it makes less sense than ever."

'The Long Game' is Quaid's new production company Bonniedale's maiden project. The 70 year-old actor is busier than ever (his next movie, starring as Ronald Reagan, opens on August 30th), but he is interested "in leaving a real legacy. Something that makes the country and the world better."

In 'The Long Game', released today, Friday, April 12th, the actor portrays Frank Mitchell, JB Peña's best friend, whom he met when they both served the United States in World War II. The story follows both coaches' journeys to turn high school youths into champions.

While Mitchell is recognized for his valor in the war due to being white, Peña is marginalized because of his skin color and origins. He and his students are even criminalized, and their life opportunities are limited. Although many of the issues depicted in the story have been overcome, discrimination still persists, and Mitchell and Peña's friendship is presented as a metaphor for unity among the inhabitants of a country as diverse and multicultural as the U.S.

The film won the audience award at the 2023 SXSW independent film festival, featuring endearing characters like the rebellious and talented Joe Treviño, played by Julian Works, and Pollo, the friendly golf club worker portrayed by Cheech Marin.

"I believe the story as a whole is about learning acceptance and tolerance," Quaid elaborates.

Golf and representation

"The Long Game" also marked the debut as executive producer for Canelo Álvarez, who until then had only had minor acting roles in films like 'Creed III' or the video game 'Undisputed.'

"When I heard about the project, it inspired me. I thought it was a beautiful story, and combined golf, a sport that I love, and positive representation of hispanics, so it was perfect to start delving into that world," Canelo told the Latin Times. "We are here to be seen, to raise our voice."

The film had a special screening at the White House last Tuesday, attended by the director and part of the cast.

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