Members of the cast and crew and even the real-life horse from the upcoming movie “50 to 1″ are beginning a three-day trek through Oklahoma today on their “50 to 1″ bus tour.
The inspirational true story of 2009 Kentucky Derby longshot Mine That Bird races to the big screen with “50 to 1,” with Norman-bred actor Christian Kane, Skeet Ulrich and William Devane portraying the maverick New Mexican cowboys who took the crooked-footed racehorse all the way to Churchill Downs.
The cast and filmmakers of the fact-based sports drama hit the road on a cross-country tour beginning March 17 to promote the major motion picture’s release, with roll-out opening dates in theaters beginning March 21.
The movie opens in Oklahoma City theaters this Friday, so the tour is hitting Oklahoma City today, Stillwater on Tuesday and Tulsa on Wednesday.
Today’s Oklahoma City stops
For Oklahoma City fans, director Jim Wilson, actor Jamie McShane (TV’s “Sons of Anarchy”) and co-writer Faith Conroy will appear at a free meet-and-greet with the public from 1 to 2:30 p.m. today at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63.
Also, Kentucky Derby Winner Mine That Bird and his owner, Mark Allen, will make a special appearance from 6:30 to 8 tonight at Remington Park racetrack and casino, 1 Remington Place.
On Tuesday, the cast and crew will sit down for an interview with me in our NewsOK video studio before heading to Stillwater
Stillwater and Tulsa schedule
The “50 to 1″ folks will a public appearance at Oklahoma State University Tuesday afternoon for a question-and-answer session with OSU film students from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in the Student Union, Room #408-1.
After doing media interviews, the tour will continue with another public meet-and-greet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Eskimo Joe’s, 501 W Elm in Stillwater.
The road tour then heads to Tulsa, where it is tentatively scheduled to stop from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the AMC Southroads 20 with IMAX, 4923 E 41 Street. For there, it’s on to Fayetteville and Bentonville, Ark.
More on the movie
Jim Wilson, the Oscar-winning producer of “Dances with Wolves,” produced, directed and co-wrote “50 to 1.”
“We’re bringing ‘50 to 1’ to the people of America,” Wilson says in a news release. “The group will travel in a tour bus from New Mexico to Kentucky, making stops in cities and towns along the way, mirroring the trip racehorse Mine That Bird took on his way to the 2009 Kentucky Derby.”
Cast members joining the tour in various cities will be Skeet Ulrich (“Jericho,” “Scream,” “As Good As It Gets”), Christian Kane (“Leverage,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Secondhand Lions,” “Just Married”), Todd Lowe (“True Blood,” “The Princess Diaries,” “Gilmore Girls”) and Hugo Perez (“Machete,” “The Longshots,” “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay”). Also on tour will be Wilson and co-producer/co-writer Faith Conroy. The real Mine That Bird also will make special appearances along the tour.
“When was the last time Hollywood’s leading men hopped on a bus and toured the country from town to town, introducing their film to the people of America?” Wilson says in the release. “It’s unprecedented.”
Since he grew up in Oklahoma, Kane was originally set to come to the Sooner State this week with the tour. However, the actor/musician was forced to wrap his time on the bus a little early last week after getting a new acting opportunity (word on several fan sites is that he’s been cast to return to TNT for the upcoming TV series “The Librarian,” but that’s not yet been confirmed). That’s a shame, since he’s one of my all-time favorite guys to interview.
“I’ve done tours before. I’m excited!” Kane says in the release. “It’s an old hat for me in the sense that when you love something so much, you will put 18 wheels and lives in motion just to bring it into town and say, ‘I hope you like this. I made this for you.’”
“I’m extremely excited to hit the road with a film I’m very proud to be a part of,” Ulrich says in the release. “It seems fitting we’d be selling our wares from a gypsy-like caravan, given the underdog nature of our story, and I’m hoping this journey answers three burning questions. One, are audiences tired of the blockbuster and ready to be uplifted by the values of hard work and integrity? Two, can we inspire our audiences to stick to their guns and do what they love at all costs? And three, does Christian snore louder than Todd?”
“Man, this almost feels like we’re carnies or something. Or an old whistle-stop political campaign,” Lowe says in the release. “I’m looking forward to rolling into different towns and shaking hands and kissing babies.”
“Personally, I’ve always wanted to be a rock star,” Conroy says in the release. “And seriously, traveling across the country for weeks on end with a busload of gorgeous cowboys? Sign me up!”
“It’ll be a fun, fun road trip vacation for me, part of the dream-life I want to live,” Perez says in the release. “It’s also an honor and I’m so fortunate to be a part of this adventure.”
Inspiration for the tour came during a brainstorming session by Wilson and Conroy.
“I thought, why not meet the audience this movie is intended for, introduce them to the stars and shake their hands,” Wilson says in the release. “It’s the audience that matters the most. It’s why we make these stories, to share them with the world.”
The film was was shot in 40 locations across New Mexico, Kentucky and California, and is opening theatrically in roll-out fashion beginning in New Mexico March 21, followed by Texas and Louisiana April 4, Oklahoma and Arkansas this Friday, Tennessee and Kentucky April 18, and will then expand across the country.
The tour mirrors not only the true story, but also the release, and will weave its way from town to town through the initial seven states.
“This is just for starters,” Wilson says in the release. “We have every intention of crisscrossing America, but it’s dependent on demand. If you want us to come visit your city, let us know.”
People interested in having the “50 to 1″ tour stop in their town can email their requests to email@example.com. Include in the subject line: 50 to 1 Movie Tour – First and Last name, Town, State and Zip Code.
Wilson won the Academy Award for Best Picture for “Dances with Wolves,” which he produced. Other producing credits include “The Bodyguard,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Swing Vote,” “Mr. Brooks” and “Message in a Bottle.” Wilson’s previous directing credits include “Head Above Water,” “Whirlygirl” and the critically-acclaimed documentary about Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., “Laffit – All About Winning.”
Mine That Bird was born May 10, 2006, and began racing in 2008 in Canada, winning four of his first six starts. His career slumped after he was purchased by Mark Allen in the fall of 2008, going winless until his monumental upset at the 2009 Kentucky Derby at 50-to-1 odds. Mine That Bird continued his run for the Triple Crown that year, finishing second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes.
He amassed $2,228,637 in earnings throughout his career but never won another race in nine starts after his win at the Kentucky Derby. Mine That Bird was retired from racing in November 2010 and currently lives with his owners at Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, N.M.
For more information on “50 to 1″ and the bus tour, go to www.50to1themovie.com.