Commentary

ESPN Films: Charismatic

Updated: November 4, 2011, 4:08 PM ET
By Staff | ESPN.com

FILM SUMMARY

In June of 1999 an unlikely chestnut colt named Charismatic, with jockey Chris Antley aboard, headed down the stretch at the Belmont Stakes, just seconds away from becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 21 years. Thoroughbred racing was desperate for this story of deliverance -- track attendance was in steep decline, starts like Seattle Slew and Secretariat were distant memories, drug abuse and bulimia were becoming issues in the jockey colony, and America's love affair with the Sport of Kings was waning. Into this void stepped Charismatic and Antley, both thought to be lost causes. The racing community had such a low opinion of Charismatic that he had been entered into claiming races just months prior to the Triple Crown races. As for Antley, he was considered a washed-up, anorexic, former drug addict who should have stayed retired from racing. Together, along with the expertise of legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas, they became the biggest long shots in 59 years to win the Kentucky Derby, and then followed up with another underdog win at the Preakness. They may have been denied their Hollywood ending, but their story of redemption lives on.

MEET THE DIRECTOR

Multiple Emmy & Peabody Award winner, Steve Michaels, began his career working with some of Hollywood's most prestigious filmmakers including James Cameron, Jon Peters, David Frankel and Jon Avnet. Steve's versatility has led Asylum Entertainment to a leading position in the world of television. Since forming the company, Steve has produced over 800 hours of television including most notably the 10-time Emmy nominated mini-series, "The Kennedys," starring Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Barry Pepper and Tom Wilkinson. He also produced the 10-time Emmy nominated series "Beyond The Glory," as well as the critically acclaimed shows "American Gangster," "The Locator," "Fearless," and "The Peacemaker" to name a few. Prior to the formation of Asylum Entertainment, Michaels served as a Production Executive for DreamWorks Television overseeing such well-known television projects as "Spin City," "High Incident," and the Academy Award-winning short, "Dear Diary."

Michaels has also worked in production on several feature films including "True Lies," "Up Close and Personal," "Homeward Bound II" and "Miami Rhapsody." Michaels is a graduate of USC School of Cinema Television and studied Film and Television at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.