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Video: Spielberg Talks War Horse at New York Screening

by Anne Thompson
November 27, 2011 9:28 PM
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DreamWorks put Steven Spielberg onstage in New York with moderator Mark Harris at an advance screening of "War Horse" on Sunday, which was simulcast live via satellite at preview screenings in nine other cities--Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Washington, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta-- and streamed at

Adapted by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis from Michael Morpurgo's bestselling children's novel and the hit London and New York stage play, "War Horse" opens in theatres on Christmas Day. Spielberg read the book first, which was told from the POV of the horse Joey and gave him the "spine of the narrative," he said, while the play had "spectacular puppetry" and made him see the material's "emotional potential." A script is a "living organism," he said, which  under his watch undergoes constant revisions before and during shooting.

The most difficult "War Horse" sequence to shoot, said Spielberg, was the harrowing scene when Joey, threatened by a tank, runs away in a panic through No Man's Land at night and gets caught in barbed wire. Keeping the horses safe was of paramount importance, so the scene took a long time to complete. The film was mostly shot in Richmond, the Duke of Wellington estate and on the moors around Devon, England. Spielberg selected Brit unknown Jeremy Irvine after six auditions. Finally the director decided "we weren't going to do any better than Jeremy."

John Williams has been Spielberg's exclusive composer for 40 years since 1972's "Sugarland Express." Usually Williams sees the movie, goes away, and then plays themes for the director on his Steinway. On "War Horse" he played three and "I was a goner," Spielberg said. "Three handkerchiefs right there." (More details on the Q and A at In Contention; Spielberg also talked to Michael Phillips.)


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  • saw see | December 9, 2011 11:41 PMReply

    AS the Siberian winter sweeps down across Manchuria and
    North Korea ---prison camps included, Hollywood continues
    to BALK and RUN from the urgently relevant

    -----------------------------KOREAN WAR-------------------------------

  • Griff | November 29, 2011 7:36 AMReply

    "John Williams has been Spielberg's exclusive composer for 40 years since 1972's 'Sugarland Express.' "

    THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS was released in 1974. Jerry Goldsmith scored TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE -- including Spielberg's "Kick the Can" segment of the 1983 anthology feature. Quincy Jones composed and supervised the music for 1985's THE COLOR PURPLE.

  • saw see | November 27, 2011 10:11 PMReply

    "The KOREAN WAR, and NOT the long gone 'world wars',
    is FAST emerging as the pivotal conflict of the 20th century
    in regards to the 21st."

    Franchise slum Hollywood, and their latest round of moral
    alibis aside.

    FACT IS, the franchise slum mafia has BALKED the 20th
    --30th --40th --50th --and NOW 60th Anniversaries of
    the awesomely relevant KOREAN WAR.

    ------------------------NOW, back to your regularly scheduled DENIAL...

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