The Making of Cornfield
An instant hit - the Mustang 2005 Commercial
© Wolfgang Kohrn, David Stuart - Last updated on January 5th, 2005


David Stuart enjoyed the filming of the commercial a lot. He played the FARMER and was cast out of 100 applicants.

The barn set-up

Mark Myers (left) and David Stuart had a lot of fun in the CORNFIELD

The corn was replanted by hand next to the pavement to make an accurate line. What a job. Those assistants deserve some promotion.

The silver car made it into the commercial

Exclusive Ponysite Series: 
The Interviews with the Actors

A. David Stuart as THE FARMER

Thanks David for your willingness to share some backscene information of the CORNFIELD commercial for the Ford Mustang 2005.

1. Do you know anything about the original idea (who, when, why) for this commercial aside from the known facts about the "Field of Dreams" and BULLITT?

I’m not sure how the concept of the commercial evolved, but I think that is elsewhere described. I know the ad agency, J. Walter Thompson out of Detroit came up with the idea and thoroughly tested it prior to actually starting pre-production fearing the target audience would not understand either the ‘Field of Dreams’ concept or the reference to Steve McQueen. 
It tested well so they decided to go ahead with it.  

2. How many actors were casted for the FARMER?

From what I understand, hundreds of actors were auditioned for the role of the FARMER so I consider myself lucky to have been cast in the role.  

3. Why were you choosen? What have been the profile requirements for the FARMER?

I originally thought I would not be right for the spot since I figured they would be looking for a ‘farmer’ type. 
I was told that I was cast for looking young (I fit the target market) and hip, that I slightly resembled Kevin Costner as he looked in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ and for the fact that I was one of the few actors who did not over-play the requirements of the scene. 
Although I went through 3 auditions for the role I was told by the director that he knew I was the one for the role from my first audition. He was looking for someone who could look the part and not over-act the reaction to seeing McQueen.  

4. Anything you can tell about Paul Street, who had already  directed the PUMA commercial in Bullitt style?

I was not aware of who Paul Street was until I was cast for the spot. I also didn’t know Mr. Street shot the PUMA ad until I was told on set and saw the commercial when I returned home after the shooting was complete.  

5. Was somebody from Warner Bros. present to control the work?

I was unaware of anyone from Warner present on set and there was certainly no interference from anyone during shooting who may have had any input. From what I understand they paid for the rights and any input would have come during the editing of the spot (I’m indeed unaware of any).  

6. How long did it exactly take? I mean the set preparation, technical preparation, on-site filming, post-editing, cutting?

I can tell you that I was told it took approximately six months for the pre-production and was told they had very tight post-production schedule. I heard they had only three weeks to finish the editing following the shoot. 
The shoot was 14 days. The first 7 days was preparation and the last 7 days was the actual shoot.
I was on from the very first shot until the very last. Most days were 12-18 hours with walking lunches (eating on the go) as they were trying to get everything done on schedule. 
I was originally supposed to be on for 11 days, but it was cut to 7. There was also a young child and woman cast as my wife and child. 
They were supposed to be in the commercial as well and were cut on the day of shooting (I assume for time purposes). I also shot a few days of me driving the car (similar to the movie ‘Days of Thunder’) which found the editing room floor when all was said and done.  

7. Did they have the BULLITT sequences on site for playing and comparing?

Yes, they had two monitors from which they were comparing the body double’s movements and those of the actual McQueen footage. The body double ( Mark Myers) had the difficult task of matching his movements exactly to those of the Bullitt footage (within millimeters) so they could match it up in post.

It was tedious work and at one point the director Paul Street stopped filming to yell at Mark and the crew…stressing, of course, the importance of matching the movements and not moving more than a fraction when he asked for a movement for the face for example.

With all this equipment and pressing schedule there was little time for delays.

8. I heard people were driving carts around the track after the filming?

Yes, the day after the filming was wrapped the track was removed, but just before the crew did it. They rented go-carts and went around the track. 
Unfortunately II wasn’t there for that.  

Dismantling a Mustang for special shots can be a 10minutes job in such a project - Think again, if a commercial producing company asks you to rent them your car.

9. Any funny anecdotes/incidents you remember.

A few things I can remember from my experience. 
I was asked to drive the car out of the barn straight at two cameras mounted on the ground just outside. I had not yet driven the car, had not driven a standard vehicle in about 4 years and have never driven a 300 hp car. 
I was told to drive the car out very quickly and stop before destroying the $500,000 in camera equipment…
I was very nervous needless to say! I almost stalled the car and ended up jumping the start (the scene was cut in the final edit hahaha), but didn’t destroy the cameras.

The weather was beautiful in Vancouver for weeks and weeks prior to the shoot, but during the week, it would not cooperate. We waited on several occasions for the clouds to clear and the pouring rain to stop. The last day of shooting was the worst as it rained soooo hard and the mud in the field was thick and deep. The scenes where I drive the front end loader and the paver were shot during breaks in the pouring rain and I was standing on the paver for hours with an umbrella waiting for the rain to let up.

I was asked to drive the front end loader which I had never done before and wasn’t excited to do. Neither was the guy who normally drives it. So he (burly guy named Bob who didn’t look at all like me but was put in my wardrobe) ended up doing the actual driving and all I had to do was back up about 20 feet (that shot of me was eventually cut).

Also I saved the life of one of the crew members a few days before we wrapped. The motorcycle that was doing shots on the straight-away lost control, as it was coming toward us. 
We were setting up the burn out shot with me standing next to the Mustang. One of the crew was putting oil on the rear wheels as I saw the motorcycle coming toward us and fish-tailing as it tried to stop on the soft pavement. 
I managed to pull the crew member out of the way as the bike stopped and fell over into the corn next to the two foot space where we were standing. Everyone was fine except for the wardrobe person, who wasn’t happy about the oil that spilled onto my wardrobe as I pulled the crew member out of the way.  

10. How did you interact with Mark Myers ? Is he really of the same attitude like Steve?

Yes, I did interact quite a bit with Mark and still keep in touch with him periodically. Mark - of course - does not have the "real" McQueen persona. Nobody is like Steve. 
Mark has a "thick" British accent and is cool in a different way, but he has the right look and is a nice guy to work with.

11. What is your history with Mustangs?

My history with the Mustang is somewhat limited. I didn’t really begin looking into either the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ or ‘Bullitt’ (and Steve McQueen), until I began auditioning for the Ford commercial when I rented both movies and conducted research to do the best job possible in order to land the role. 
Since then I have become a great fan of the Mustang! I am crossing my fingers in hopes they give me one of the new Mustangs since I certainly can’t be seen now driving the four cylinder, 132 hp, competitor’s vehicle which I currently own, hahaha…

Editors note: Sounds reasonable, if the competition gets aware of that and publishes photos of THE FARMER driving a ..... :) 

12. Has somebody from Ford Motor Company been there and how did it went with the Ford people?

They did have Ford people there although I don’t know exactly who. The other’s there included folks from Streetlight Films, Believe Media, and J. Walter Thompson. 
As far as how everyone was on set, there weren’t any visible problems. They did have a few production meetings although I wasn’t privy to what went on during those meetings, however, everyone on set was extremely professional and courteous.  

13. Did they have any VIP event in the field?

Nothing. The track was laid down, the commercial was shot, the crew raced the go-carts on the day after the spot wrapped and the track was destroyed before the corn was cut down. 
There was however a "wrap party" the night the commercial wrapped and everyone left the following day. So there were no functions in the field…except for a few drinks to celebrate immediately following the wrap call.  

14. Any logistic/catering/manpower/technical statistics or figures that might impress us?

The only thing I can think of is the detail put into the building of the track with the cornstalks being placed by hand around the edges of the pavement to give a clean line. 
Care was also taken when cast, crew, vehicles etc. went onto the track. The tires were all washed and everyone was required to wash off their boots so that dirt would not find it’s way onto the track. 

Another thing was the sheer magnitude of the commercial. I have worked on both commercials as well as film and television and I have never been involved in anything with such a scope.

The number of cameras mounted on cranes, on vehicles, hand-held etc. is worth to mention. To have two or three units shooting various scenes at the same time.
For example during the burnout scene there were three cameras including a large crane (possibly four) on our scene while a helicopter flew overhead, an M-1 (dune buggy with a camera mount) shooting in the cornfield, a motorcycle with a camera mounted on it shooting on the straightaway, another unit shooting exteriors elsewhere, and another Mustang shooting on the track all at the same time…it was a very well organized chaos. 
It was so hot on this day that many of us were hiding in the corn to avoid getting burned and it felt like we were shooting a war movie!

15. Any personal feelings about the set-up, cooperation with people, you want to share? I think you and Mark deserve a bit more promotion.

As far as my personal feelings…this was, without a doubt, the best experience of my professional life. Actors say these types of things all the time, but in my case shooting this commercial and working with such a professional crew created memories that will last a lifetime. 
I appreciate your comments about Mark and me deserving some promotion. I hired a publicist and have done a few radio interviews, been on the local news and will be on a local talk show this month, but I am open for things to come. 

I have made suggestions that I do personal appearances at Ford dealerships and auto shows, I hope somebody "bites the flea". 

I heard today that the spot has started airing in movie theaters in Canada as of the New Year so hopefully that will create some buzz. I also heard the commercial may be airing during the Super Bowl at the end of this month so fingers crossed for that to generate some publicity as well. 
The only other rumors I heard were that I may get a Mustang out of it and that I may be asked to make an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno but those are only rumors told to me by one of the ad agency execs (although that would be terrific!).

I hope this all helps.


Thanks David, Ponysite is always here to help in promotion. 

If you want to hire David for your Ford dealership event or a new commercial or even a major Hollywood movie, you can contact him via


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