Other celebs and politicos were falling over themselves to be invited to the Chelsea Clinton wedding. But movie director Stephen Spielberg wasn’t one of them. The A-List celebrity guest actually turned down the invitation.
Some of the entertainment tabloids called it a “snub” when they learned that the movie maker was in the U.K. visiting piglets on a small, very English farm.
Spielberg is working on his new movie, an adaptation of War Horse, the critically acclaimed theater piece that’s been playing for months to sell-out audiences in London’s West End and is set to open on Broadway in April, 2011. The Spielberg movie is set to be released a few months later, in August.
Joey and Albert in the stage play War Horse
The play is itself an adaptation of a novel by Michael Morpurgo. It tells the very moving story of a horse who is beloved by a boy, but is shipped to France during World War I.
Spielberg plans to shoot the movie at Holwell Farm on Dartmoor in southwest England.
“We showed him around the farm,” the farm’s owner, Philippa Hughes, told Britain’s Daily Express. “We showed him the views and he met the animals, like our piglets and the Dartmoor ponies. He was very friendly and unassuming. He loved the animals and we found him a very easy person to be around.”
Dartmoor is well known for its bogs that can swallow up the unwary hiker, as well as for its prison and as the backdrop to the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles.
“Some of the Americans among the crew were very impressed with Dartmoor,” said Ms. Hughes. “When you tell them the landscape has remained virtually unchanged for centuries, they can’t quite believe it. It’s such an iconic landscape.”
The original novel was written as a children’s book in which Joey the horse is sold into the British army and sent off to serve on the battlefields of France. His young human friend, Albert, is also shipped to the Western Front, and although the two become separated, their stories intertwine as he tries to find his horse friend and the two try to survive the horrors of World War I.
When you ask who the real losers in World War I were, it was not the Germans and their allies; it was the horses. More than eight million of them died on the battlefields, “serving” the various countries that had conscripted them into that most futile and horrific of all wars