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Weekend Director Andrew Haigh's Latest Film is About a Boy and His Horse

Weekend Director Andrew Haigh's Latest Film is About a Boy and His Horse

The Unlikely Friendship in Andrew Haigh's 'Lean on Pete'
Photography: Courtesy of A24

Lean on Pete continues the Looking creator's exploration of loneliness and friendship. 

In Lean on Pete, newcomer Charlie Plummer plays Charley, a 15-year-old loner who latches onto the racehorse of the film's title while fighting off the pain of isolation. Its source material is a novel by Willy Vlautin that caught director Andrew Haigh's eye six years ago. After reading it, Haigh felt a strong connection to Charley -- like he needed to help him. "I wanted an actor who could recreate that feeling without being too sentimental," he says. "This isn't a Disney film."

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By contrast, Haigh's rigorous character study hinges on the biblical, with Charley resembling a modern-day Job, struck with one calamity after the next as he grits his teeth and bares it. The horse represents the "security and care" the Oregon teen wishes he had, and the story -- which follows Haigh's HBO series Looking and his movies Weekend and 45 Years -- is the latest gem from an auteur whose queer experience continues to inform his universal tales of loneliness. "The horse races were hard to shoot -- some days were 110 degrees," Haigh says, "but the biggest challenge is always the same: to try to show what's truthful."

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