“Tyson’s Run,” expected in theaters in 2019, tells the story of a young boy with autism attempting to rekindle a relationship with his father by competing in a marathon with an unlikely champion as a trainer.
Shot in nearby Marietta, Georgia, and featuring an all-star cast, The Atlanta Voice spoke with lead characters, Jibre Hordges and Barkhad Abdi along with director, Kim Bass. The film also stars Major Dodson, Rory Cochrane and Amy Smart.
Hordges, who is an Atlanta native and recent star of BET’s “The Quad,” came fresh off the movie set to describe his role and the message of the movie.
“I play Billy Kidman, the quarterback of the Harkam high School football team,” Hordges said.“(In this role),I am the leader, so I have to urge everybody to compete and do a good job…I am trying to encourage one of the ‘slower’ players at Harkam.”
Hodges said that “Tyson’s Run” “gives a lot of people that struggle with (autism) confidence (and) shows people that they are not alone… so anytime we can spread awareness (and) build people’s confidence is amazing.”
Director Kim Bass said that “Tyson’s Run” illustrates a new perspective for those who have autism.
“In this film, we are using autism as a vehicle to explain that everyone is gifted, everyone is different, everyone is special,” he explained. “Everyone has to be given an opportunity to flourish and be the best person that he or she can be.”
Bass, who is known for writing, producing and directing on projects like “Kennan and Kel,” “In Living Color,” and “Sister Sister,” said he believes putting limitations on a person only stifles their success.
“The message of the film is, ‘Don’t put limitations on people and don’t allow limitations to be put on you.’” just excel at whatever your goal is and strive to achieve those goals,” Bass said. “With a film like this, you will watch this young extraordinary man go through his process; while his family first watches and then helps.
I think it is a message that connects to all people: don’t limit anyone whether they are thought of being different, challenged, or disabled it shouldn’t matter,” he added. “Everybody should be able to achieve greatness. That’s what I hope the takeaway of this movie is for many people.”
Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi, said that for him, an acting career was once, “a very far dream.” Abdi, who is originally from Somalia and later moved to Minnesota, said that through being diligent and work ethic, he “feels very blessed to have such a career. I really enjoy it.”
Abdi also shared some personal advice to aspiring actors and actresses.
“For upcoming actors, they must believe in themselves, they must practice, [and] work on their craft,” Abdi said. “Whether it’s recording or editing, the more you work on it the better you will get… Nothing comes just like that. You must put in the work and that goes for everything in life.”