From HOTP thread posted by dad1153TV SportsJeremy Lin getting a national TV audience
By Michale Hiestand, USA Today
- Feb. 17, 2012
into new career
Just because Gary Stevens
won eight Triple Crown races, don't assume he got his role as a hard-drinking jockey in the intense HBO series Luck
because he can ride. In fact, he's not allowed to.
"I have a stunt rider because of insurance," he says. "Paralysis or death would maybe cause problems for the production."
Uh, probably. "And I'm not allowed to ride my Harley Davidson, or jump out of airplanes — which I'd never do anyway."
But then, he'd never planned to go into acting or sportscasting. Stevens says that until the last few years of his career as a jockey — he retired in 2005 — he had "no other ambition to do anything other than train race horses. But unexpected opportunities arose."
Like the 2003 film Seabiscuit, where Stevens also played a jockey — and also wasn't allowed to ride. Stevens was sent to spend three days with an acting coach, who phoned the producers the second day. Stevens figured he was a goner. Instead, he heard the acting coach say: "I'm sending him home. He's ready. I don't want to screw him up."
In 2005, Stevens joined NBC, where he remains a lead analyst on its Triple Crown coverage.
In Luck (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET), a dark drama whose cast includes Dustin Hoffman as a scheming ex-con and Nick Nolte as an owner with a scandal in his past, Stevens' part was created with him in mind. He says he's known show writer David Milch for 30 years. "I rode race horses for him. He loves to play the ponies. … And every Luck character is based on certain personalities at race tracks."
And he trots out lots of racing lingo in his scripts. But cast members, including Stevens, use weekly Monday night Twitter chats —#LuckChat — to help viewers make translations.