The 5 Best Tidbits from Steven Spielberg's War Horse Q&A
I'm still a little sour with Steven Spielberg after he tried shilling the abysmal Cowboys & Aliens with a bunch of smarty-pants soundbites, but I'll let him slide in case War Horse turns out to be fabulous. In this new, highly edited Q&A from MSN, Spielberg talks about the new movie, purposely casting an unknown as a lead, and the miraculous work of John Williams. All sounds good so far. But will we be left wanting? Or whinnying?
On whether the book or play inspired him to make the film:
"The book made me see the spine of the narrative, and the play made me see the emotional potential for a film adaptation -- so it was really a combination of both."
On altering a script during filming:
"You can't start a movie by having the attitude that the script is finished. because if you thin the script is finished, your movie is finished before the first day of shooting."
On working with John Williams for 40 years:
"We have a shorthand. He always sees the movie early and then he just goes away. And I don't see him. And then I get a phone call and he says, 'You want to come over to my office? I want to play you some themes.' I go over to the office, and he sits down behind his Steinway, and he starts playing me themes. It's been that way for almost 40 years. I love everything he's ever written, but some scores that he sketches on the piano have a few profound effect on me. He plays three themes from this movie, and I was a goner. I was three handkerchiefs, right there."
On casting the film's young protagonist, Albert:
"I wanted an unknown to play Albert; I didn't want a well-known actor to play him. Part of that is looking through who's in theater currently, who's going to acting class, who's going to school studying acting, who just wants to volunteer to come in to read for our casting directors... It took months to find the right actor. Jeremy [Irvine] came in right in the middle of the casting process, and I saw him midway through casting and felt that I'd found my Albert. But I thought, If I found him this early, there must be someone better... I went to England and tested him again - I think he tested six times - I realized we weren't going to do any better than Jeremy."
On protecting the horses during filming:
"The only thing any of us cared about was that not a single horse was going to ever be injured making this picture. This picture wasn't worth the injury to a horse. So it took us much longer to shoot that scene because we had to make sure every single shot was safe for the horse. It was also at night, which means we were up all night, which is no fun when you're making a movie."
Does this excite you for War Horse, or is it Oscar bait you dread seeing?