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Tim McGraw Talks About "Flicka"


Tim McGraw Talks About

Tim McGraw stars in "Flicka."

© 20th Century Fox

Fans of singer Tim McGraw have no reason to be alarmed. Although McGraw enjoys taking on the occasional acting gig, he’s not about to give up his day job anytime soon. But McGraw did put his day job on hold for a short while to work on the 2006 adaptation of Flicka, based on the Mary O’Hara book My Friend Flicka. McGraw plays the father of a 16-year-old girl who wants more for his daughter than a life of working on the family ranch.

Deciding on Film Roles to Tackle: “You have to be very selective because I don't have time to do a lot of work,” McGraw explained, “between touring and making records and producing other acts and all that kind of stuff – and a new label now. I don't have a lot of time, so I have to be very selective.

To be honest, I didn't want to do this movie when I was first approached with it. I didn't want to play a rancher. I didn't want to have a cowboy hat on; I wanted to get away from that in the things I do. But I read the script and fell in love with it. As hard as I tried to say no, I couldn't. The script was so good, and I knew it was going to be a PG movie. After Friday Night Lights, I wanted to do a movie that my kids could see, because they couldn't see that movie. I didn't want them to see me as that sort of character. So just the idea of doing a great family movie, and the script being so wonderful and [director] Michael Mayer… After seeing A Home at the End of the World movie, which was just such a beautiful movie, I wanted to work with him.”

Tim McGraw’s No Stranger to Horses: McGraw has 15 horses on his 800 acre ranch and helped out his co-stars when it came to handling the horses used in the film. “I offered some advice, but [Maria Bello and Alison Lohman] did well. They took to it very naturally. I mean, I grew up riding. I can't ever remember not being able to ride or rope and all that stuff. It was part of my life growing up, so it was fun for me. It all came back pretty quickly.”

Playing a Dad in Flicka: McGraw says his parenting skills are similar in some respects to his character’s. “I think you have to be a little bit strict. You can't be friend and their parent in a lot of situations, especially in this day and age where it's so dangerous for kids. So there's a bit of sternness, I guess, in the way I raise my kids. But I've got girls - how stern can you be? Three girls – 9, 8, and 4, - and the wife. And the housekeeper. And the nanny. It's like a big estrogen swimming pool. I have to go out and shoot bears on the weekend.”

Fortunately for the McGraw family, celebrity hasn’t kept them from leading a relatively normal life. “We do. I coach my daughter's softball and basketball team. We go to all the school functions. We go out to eat at night and take the kids to the movies. We try to be as normal as we can. I mean we leave all that… We're parents first, and once you have kids, everybody knows that you have priority lists. Number one is your family and everything else just kind of finds its place. And it's easy for me to say that because I'm not up there busting my ass every day like most people have to do. I don’t want to make that sound like I'm preaching from a mountain top when I say you have to give your family everything, because I know it's hard for people. I’m lucky to be in a position where you can establish those ground rules and make it that way.”

Relating to His Character: “I'm not as tough as he is, but I don't have the life that he had, just trying to run a ranch and be a dad at the same time. But certainly the caring that this guy has for his family, which I think you can see throughout the whole movie… He's really concerned with his daughter and family and kids and how he's going to provide for them, but I think just the general aspects of being a father is the biggest relationship I have with this guy. And I try to balance being a father and doing everything else.”

Life on the Set of Flicka: Co-star Maria Bello says that McGraw brought in delicious food from Louisiana for the cast and crew. “Yeah, my assistant went to college with me and he's from Louisiana. His dad is a retired lieutenant colonel, Louisiana State Troopers, so he cooked a lot, cooked Cajun food. When we were doing a movie or out doing shows or something, we'd call him every now and then and he'd bring his whole trailer and do the deep-fried turkeys and the crawfish and the catfish and shrimp and all that stuff. He lays on a big spread for everybody.”

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