The video below is from the Wall Street Journal website, via Susie Blackmon’s tip:
If you can’t see the above video from the Wall Street Journal website, please click on this link.
Ever since I saw an advance screening of “War Horse,” I’ve fielded a variety of questions about the movie’s emotional intensity.
Can I take my children? has been one question. Another has been, There aren’t any dead horses in it, are there?”
The vibe out there is, I want to see it, but I don’t want to get too upset.
People are worried. They’ve got enough upsetting them in real life, maybe too much to let a sad movie send them over the edge.
Yet, this is an emotional movie about animals – horses – used in war.
So, let’s get some information. Let’s take some glimpses behind the curtain of movie magic. Knowledge is power. Maybe a little knowledge can give us the power to keep us from losing it in public?
If you’re a purist and you don’t want to know any “spoilers, you’ve probably seen too much already. Still, I hope what little you’ve seen already has piqued your curiosity about the movie.
Still, I don’t think you’ll lose the magic by reading this. You might come away with a new appreciation of the achievement on the screen.
So, consider this another Sad Movie Survival Tip: learn how movies are made. Especially movies with real horses.
Starring as the title character? Finder!
Although fourteen equine actors portrayed Joey, one stands out among the rest. You’ve seen him as one of the many Seabiscuits and with Zorro (yes, with a black vegetable dye job) and fretting near that out-of-control train in “Unstoppable.”
He’s a bay off-the-track thoroughbred now named Finder. I wonder what his Jockey Club registered name was? Apparently, Finder didn’t like racing, although he made a convincing enough movie racehorse.
His movie trainer and owner Bobby Lovgren met him on the set of Seabiscuit and bought him from the producers. They’ve been working together ever since. They even flew out from California to Great Britain for “War Horse.”
The London Daily Mail tracked down Lovgren and Finder back home in California and the article has Lovgren describing Finder’s personality. Apparently, he’s got a mind of his own, according to this article in The Sun.
As an actor, Finder has range, as you’ll see in “War Horse.” (Spoiler ahead) Finder plays the horse trapped in fake rubber barbed wire. (Yes! It’s rubber! The Wall Street Journal says so!) Finder even plays Joey’s mother, as this interview with Lovgren says.
As the New York Times Carpetbagger says, some horses need their own IMDB page. (Internet Movie Database page.)
And I say, what with his steadily growing list of credits? Finder needs a fan club. Yet, he does have the modern equivalent in a Finder’s Key (his full name) Facebook fan page.
For the humans, a director. For the horses? A horse master
In Britain, where the movie was filmed, they’re called “horse masters.” In the US, probably thanks to Hollywood being out west closer to cattle drives than fox hunts, that job on the movie set is called “lead wrangler.”
Either way, they’re the guys who train the horses and give them cues for ways to react on camera. The Wall Street Journal article tells how, off-camera, wranglers/masters would prompt reactions out of the horses for benefit of the camera.
Want to get a horse to look a certain way? Have you ever taken a posed photo with a horse and had somebody doing something off camera to attract the horse’s attention?
The same idea works in the movies. See the Wall Street Journal article.
Plus, the Guardians
The American Humane Association was on set every day, Lovgren said, as well as a veterinarian. The horse doctor was never needed.
What’s more, Lovgren said in the London Daily Mail that he won’t work on a movie in which the animals aren’t independently monitored.
Fran Jurga says on her War Horse News blog that the AHA gave “War Horse” its highest level of certification.
I’ll say it again: all the animals on “War Horse” were safe.
It’s all pretend. Even if the music and the pacing and the acting and appearances may appear otherwise.
Now you know more
Knowledge is power. Still …
“War Horse” is meant to be emotionally powerful. There’s no getting around that.
Newsflash: Fran Jurga’s “War Horse News Blog” is now Live. WarHorseBlog.com
More Sad Movie Survival Tips:
Yeah, crying makes our eyes swell up and our noses run and maybe even gives us the queasies, but maybe the catharsis might be good for you? Like, the catharsis of tears from watching “War Horse?” Like I said in this post?