While Empire's planned War Horse follow-up, 'War Badger', shuffles around awaiting a green light, the author of the original story has stolen a march on the lot of us. Michael Morpurgo's follow-up to his wartime tale with a tail, Private Peaceful, is gearing up for the big-screen treatment too.
Private Peaceful is cut from the same cloth as War Horse. Like that novel, stage play and soon-to-be Spielberg movie, it's set in Devon and the trenches of the Western Front during World War One. The story revolves around young Tommo Peaceful's journey from his Devon home to the carnage of Flanders, via some sticky formative experiences; the death of his father (Stephen Kennedy) and the malign influence of his grandmother (Frances de la Tour) among them.
Tommo will be played by Tyrannosaur's Samuel Bottomley as a nipper and George MacKay as a teenager. His older brother Charlie (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Jack O’Connell) eventually follows him to Belgium where the pair find themselves facing the unjust wrath of their own army, as well as the evil Hun.
Circle Of Friends director Pat O’Connor is the man behind the camera, directing from a script adapted by newcomer Simon Reade. Interestingly, Mark Knopfler, who did such a fine job with the Local Hero score, has been recruited for composing duties.*
Shooting kicks off at the end of the month with East Anglian locations standing in for the West Country.
* please insert 'Brothers In Arms' pun here.