War Horse opens in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day. We’ve recently shared interviews from the Horse Trainer, Bobby Lovgren, Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Actors Emily Watson and Jeremy Irvine, and Director Steven Spielberg.
Now, we’d love to share some interesting facts about the film with information about everything from the horses used to the costumes and make-up. Enjoy!
- War Horse from DreamWorks Pictures is Directed by Steven Spielberg with Producers Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy.
- The film is based on a collaboration of the book by Michael Morpurgo and the stageplay by Nick Stafford produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain.
- The film’s screenplay was written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis.
- After seeing the play in London, Producer Kathleen Kennedy was emotionally moved and brought the project to Director Steven Spielberg.
- The international casts has members from England, France and Germany with most of them playing roles of their nationality to provide authenticity to the accents even though all lines are in English.
- The cast features Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell, Celine Buckens, David Kross, Rainer Bock, Nicolas Bro, Leonard Carow, Patrick Kennedy, Geoff Bell and Robert Emms.
- The film was shot on location in Devon, England – primarily on the moors of Dartmoor, village of Castle Combe and on Stratfield Saye (Duke of Wellington’s home). The cavalry charge, French countryside with the windmill and German camp were shot, with special permission, at Stratfield Saye.
- Actor Jeremy Irvine’s Great-grandfather, a doctor in World War I, bought his horse after the war. Its ironic that he paid 28 pounds for the horse, the exact amount Albert has to pay to buy Joey back in the film. Irvine’s family still has the original receipt from the sale.
- Actual World War I weaponry is very rare so all of the weapons, including the tanks, were recreated. Some of the production guns and swords were borrowed from antique firearms dealers, collectors and museums.
- The majority of the costumes (85%) were made for the film. Joanna Johnston and her staff paid great attention to detail to ensure the military uniforms were accurate. They also created rural costumes that reflected the economic times and historical period.
- World War I was the last conflict to use horses – after WWI, all conflicts were mechanized.
- The majority of the horses used in the film were from England or Spain. With the exception of Topthorn, who came from Hungary and Finder (Lovgren’s horse), used to play Joey, came from the U.S. In all, fourteen different horses were used as Joey, the hero horse, to show all stages of the horse’s life: foal, yearling, adolescent and adult.
- Lovgren’s horse, Finder, is 11 years old. Lovgren bought Finder after working with him on the film Seabiscuit, produced by Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. War Horse is also produced by Kathleen Kennedy with Frank Marshall an executive producer.
- Makeup artists were used to add markings on all horses that were used as Joey to make sure they all looked identical. This included painting white socks and using a star shaped white hairpiece.
- For the scene where Joey is caught in barbed wire, a full-sized animatronic horse (built by Special Effects Supervisor Neil Corbould) was used. But the close-up of Joey’s face was filmed with the real horse (played by Finder) to convey the emotions.
- During the cavalry charge scene, over 100 horses were used so as not to tire them out. Actors were trained to ride one handed so their swords could be fully extended as they went into battle.
- The American Humane Association’s Film and TV unit spent more than 1,100 hours on War Horse sets in England and California.
- War Horse earned the Humane Association’s highest rating, no animals were harmed.
- The score for War Horse was written by the legendary John Williams. He was attracted to the film’s scope and period but knew little about horses so he spent time on a California horse farm to find inspiration.
DreamWorks Pictures’ “War Horse,” director Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure, is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set in the beautiful countryside of rural England and Europe during the First World War. “War Horse” begins with bond 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. “War Horse” will be released in theaters on December 25, 2011. “Like” WAR HORSE onFacebook.