In Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel War Horse, Joey, an English plow horse, narrates his own harrowing journey through the horrors of World War I. For the current blockbuster stage adaptation of War Horse running in London and New York, a masterful crew of puppeteers bring Joey to dazzling, heart-rending life.
But for Steven Spielberg’s feature film of War Horse, Joey is simply a real horse, with nothing more than his eyes and body to communicate what he’s going through.
Now, make no mistake, Steven Spielberg knows from horses. His family has kept a stable of steeds at their home for over a decade; his 14-year-old daughter has even traveled the country to participate in riding competitions. But when the director first committed to making War Horse, that flesh-and-blood limitation was his primary concern. “I didn’t know what contribution the horse was going to make beyond what they were trained to do,” Spielberg told film journalist (and EW columnist) Mark Harris in a webcast Q&A after a sneak preview screening of the film. “I thought that we were only going to get from the horses what they were trained to perform.” READ FULL STORY