Lean on Pete is adapted from a novel by Willy Vlautin and follows the story of 15-year-old Charlie Thompson (Charlie Plummer), a lonely boy without a stable home and family, who finds himself with past-his-prime racehorse Pete working his way across America from race course to race course. Along for the ride with the audience is horse trainer Del, played by Steve Buscemi, and Chloë Sevigny as jockey Bonnie, until Charlie ends up setting off on his own. Directed by British talent Andrew Haigh, whose previous projects include Weekend and 45 Years, the film explores themes of loneliness and belonging while soaking up the American landscape.
We had the pleasure of speaking with director Andrew Haigh at the BFI London Film Festival premiere about what drew him to the story, the casting process for a young actor who could carry the weight of the film (which he truly found in Charlie Plummer) and what he expects audiences will take away from the film.
Charlie Plummer was there himself to tell us about the experience of preparing for the hours of interaction with a horse and the pressure he felt with such a big movie role.
Producer Tristan Goligher also spoke to us about how he and Haigh came across the idea for making the film and the challenges of bringing the adaptation to the screen.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 6th October 2017.
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Lean on Pete is released nationwide on 16th February 2018. For further information about the event visit the official BFI website here.