“If an animal around here gets hurt like I did, they’ll get put down.” That key line from “The Rider” didn’t come from the mind of the film’s writer-director, Chloé Zhao. It came from her star, Brady Jandreau, whom she worked with to weave one of the most personal tales of the year — and a movie that was the surprise winner of the Gotham Award as the year’s best independent film, beating out contenders that included “The Favourite,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “First Reformed.”
After meeting Jandreau during the filming of her first movie, “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” Zhao knew she wanted to make her next project about him, but didn’t know what the storyline would be.
Then an unexpected tragedy provided the inspiration. A few