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Exclusive: War Horse Cast Announced
Best of British in Spielberg's next film

17 June 2010  |  Written by Ian Freer  

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Steven Spielberg has rounded up a clutch of quality British acting talent to head up the cast of War Horse, his first film to reach the screens since 2008’s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis and Benedict Cumberbatch have all signed on the dotted line, but taking the lead (or the reins) is young actor Jeremy Irvine, who has earned his stripes with both the National Youth Theatre and the RSC.

War Horse traces the friendship between Joey, a farm horse sold into the British army and sent off to serve on the battlefields of France during World War 1, and Albert (Irvine), his young owner. Watson and Mullan play Albert’s parents. Cumberbatch, so good as the quiz captain in Starter For 10 and the oily confectionery magnate in Atonement, will play military man Major Stewart.

Rounding out the internationally diverse cast are Niels Arestrup (A Prophet, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) as the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in, plus Nicolas Bro, David Kross, Leonard Carow, Rainer Bock, Robert Emms and Patrick Kennedy. Also in talks to join the cast are Tom Hiddleston, who is on villain duties as Loki in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, and Stephen Graham, This Is England’s powerhouse last seen on the big screen in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies.

Adapted by Lee Hall (best known for Billy Elliot) and Richard Curtis from Michael Morpurgo’s novel and Nick Stafford’s stage adaptation, the story has the scope for the kind of epic action and intimate, heartrending drama that is Spielberg’s forte. On paper, this touches base with Spielberg’s underrated Empire Of The Sun, a rite of passage in the theatre of (a very different) war, and that is a mouth-watering prospect.

Jeremy Irvine (Albert)
Jeremy Irvine (Albert)
Peter Mullan (Dad)
Peter Mullan (Dad)
Emily Watson (Mum)
Emily Watson (Mum)
David Thewlis (Lyons)
David Thewlis (Lyons)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Capt. Stewart)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Major Stewart)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Capt. Stewart)
Stephen Graham (Sgt. Sam Perkins)
Tom Hiddleston (Capt. Nicholls)
Tom Hiddleston (Captain Nichols)
Niels Arestrup (Grandfather)
Niels Arestrup (Grandfather)
Celine Buckens (Emilie)
Celine Buckens (Emilie)
David Kross (Gunther)
David Kross (Gunther)
Patrick Kennedy (Capt. Waverly)
Patrick Kennedy (Lieutenant Waverly)
Rainer Bock (Brandt)
Rainer Bock (Brandt)
Nicolas Bro (Friedrich)
Nicolas Bro (Friedrich)
Leonard Carow (Michael)
Leonard Carow (Michael)
Robert Emms (David Lyons)
Robert Emms (David Lyons)

Produced by Spielberg and long-time producing partner Kathleen Kennedy, War Horse starts shooting in the UK in August, the first time the director has shot here since Saving Private Ryan. This gives Spielberg exactly a year to get the movie ready for its August 10, 2011 US release. No word yet on a UK date.

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Your Comments

The War Horse
The Play was so moving. This could turn out to be spielbergs oscar winner in 2012. Cast looks great too. More

Posted by jasminefilm at 08:28 on 22 June 2010 | Report This Post

Happy Days
An American great with some very fine british talent indeed I reckon it'll be terriffic More

Posted by monkeyhumour at 08:26 on 20 June 2010 | Report This Post

It feels like ages since Spielberg had a movie in the cinemas. This is definitely one to watch come 2012 Oscars. That cast sounds incredible and Emily Watson is criminally underused. More

Posted by Jenzy at 14:13 on 18 June 2010 | Report This Post

Pictures great !
Thank god someone has shown the initiative to put pictures with the actors, how many times have a cast been announced and you go, "ok is that yer man" or "I know the name but can't think of the face" nice one. More

Posted by bryanbotsareli at 09:56 on 18 June 2010 | Report This Post

Well done Peter!
Great to see Peter Mullan cast here, great guy and i met him in Glasgow, tremendous character and nice to see him get the chance to work with the best director in the world! He had to drop out of The Departed but all the hard work has paid off!! I wonder if Speilberg saw his amazing film Orphans,he'd love that!! Emma Watson and David Thewlis two other actors who deserve the chance too. More

Posted by Big Braveheart at 22:06 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Great Author, great book, great(est) director
Having read many MM books with kids, I can honestly say that he is a genius. There are so many great books of his that would have suited Spielberg to a tee, but this looks great. This is a director who can film anything and it will have brilliance in it. No one gets everything right and Spielberg has, at times, not hit the mark. but if someone can make a superb, powerful anti-war war movie, it is he. I don't think there is another director who has used so many great british actors in his fi More

Posted by leroythemasochist at 20:19 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Also, love this photo layout empire! More

Posted by Roll at 16:14 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Can't wait...
Having seen this in the theatre a couple of times, I can't wait to see the movie. Very interested in how he intends to bring the horses to life. This is done so cleverly with puppets in the theatre, but wouldn't work at all on film. As for the comment: "having Richard Curtis involved means no poor people or black people will feature..." The theatre version starts in a poor farming village. The black people comment is probably correct. Doubt there was many of them living in small vi More

Posted by artigat1 at 16:11 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Absolutely. Spielberg is possibly my favourite director and this is a great cast, so as Dene said, good luck to them. More

Posted by Roll at 16:03 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Good luck to them all, I'll be watching in August next year hopefully. However, I can't lie and say that I wouldn't prefer his next movie to be some kind of thriller/actioner instead. More

Posted by Dene at 15:51 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Does the horse die...?
If so I can't bear to watch this, no matter how brilliant the director and cast. I'm a wimp when it comes to animals buying the big one! More

Posted by Cat_Corportation at 15:13 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Epic and heart touching.
By just reading the plot I've become emotional, knowing Spielberg and his previous works we know he knows hot to tell the pain of a battlefield like no others and then mix that with a Horse and it could get very touching indeed, I also would have liked to see Lincoln but I'm shure it can wait for now and this looks such an original story, they don't make many films about the 1st world war, not as many as the second anyway. I had a relative that died on horseback while in France so I will follow More

Posted by Tinman84 at 15:13 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

US film about the British Army?
Which means the brits will helping the US who won the war etc..etc.. sounds like Oscar brown-nose again, and having Richard Curtis involved means no poor people or black people will feature... More

Posted by reinhardt76 at 15:04 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Old War Horse? A Movie About Dirk Kuyt?
Sounds like E.T., with a horse replacing the alien and a big, sugary ending. If anyone knows how to do that, it's Mr. Spielberg. More

Posted by BenTramer at 14:53 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Looks like a decent cast - I'm looking forward to this more.         (Oh, by the way, spelling fail - it's "reins", not "reigns") More

Posted by DazDaMan at 13:13 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Great cast, if you ask me. Arestrup's work with Audiard has put him firmly on my radar and Cumberbatch was great as Van Gogh. I could go on, but probably shouldn't, other than to say that Stephen Graham is the b*lls! More

Posted by Nicky C at 13:07 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Sounds great
He certainly knows how to whip up an amazing film in no time at all. Also I really like the photo breakdown of the cast - will you be doing that more often?! nice to get a feel for the whole ensemble like that. More

Posted by Ambition at 12:55 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

Very interesting, but it's a shame to see Lincoln put on the backburner once more. Also, isn't Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes in a new BBC production? I'm sure I read that somewhere. More

Posted by Timon at 11:56 on 17 June 2010 | Report This Post

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