Since 1940, American Humane Association has been safeguarding animals in film. On the “War Horse” production sets, American Humane Association representative Barbara Carr was present to make sure that the many horses used in the making of the film were both safe and treated humanely. Says Director Spielberg, “I gave Barbara [Carr] the complete, final cut so to speak, to pull the plug if she felt any of the horses were not up to the challenge or any of the horses were in any way in harm’s way.”
Spielberg gave Carr input on set in the planning of the stunt or the action the horse had to perform and also gave her opportunities to watch rehearsals in slow motion, done one step at a time, so she could determine whether it would be safe for the horse.
The film, which opens in theatres in the U.S. on December 25th, is an epic tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. Based on the best-selling book by Michael Morpurgo and the Tony Award®–winning stage play by Nick Stafford, “War Horse” is one of the great stories of bravery and friendship, brought to the screen by one of the greatest directors in film history.
“War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Pictures’ “War Horse” stars Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch and Toby Kebbell. It is produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, and executive producers are Frank Marshall and Revel Guest. The screenplay was written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis and is based on the book by Michael Morpurgo and the international hit stage play by Nick Stafford, originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain and directed by Tom Morris and Marianne Elliot.