Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Horses to Watch Out For

Horses in Centurion

Violent battle scenes means daring horse stunts, and a film set in the breathtaking Scottish highlands means scottish breed horses.

Centurion is set during the war between Roman soldiers and Pict tribesmen during the 2nd century Roman conquest of Britain. Michael Fassbender stars as Quintus Dias, Roman centurion and son of a legendary gladiator who leads a group of soldiers on a raid of a Pict camp to rescue a captured general played by Dominic West. The son of the Pict leader is murdered during the raid, and the Romans find themselves hunted by a seemingly unstoppable group of the Pict’s most vicious and skilled warriors, led by a beautiful and deadly tracker (Kurylenko), who are hell bent on revenge.

From the stills it looks like some risky horses stunts, that I hope are done tastefully. What most people don't know is that to do a horse scene it is a thoughtfully choreographed thing. When it's not done properly and safly, that is when you start losing horses physically and mentally.

What gives me hope for this film is that if you look at the still below you can see a wrangler holding the horse while the actor delivers his performance. A camera can cut around that and make it look like the horse is in action and fighting with his soilder rider.

Neil Marshall is the Director, and he ahs Doomsday, the Descent, and now the Centurion.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Horses in Your Highness

I went to a screening of the comedy that will be released in October of "Your Highness." The film is set in Medieval times with some really remarkable horse actors. Its the story of two brothers played by James Franco and Danny McBride that set out on a journey to rescue the princess played by Zooey Deschanel. On their adventure they come across Natalie Portman, who joins them on their quest. The dialogue was great and very funny, and the actors fit their parts perfect.

The film is hilarious, but other then it being it hilarious, the horses were breathtaking in it. Tons of different breeds and colors. James Franco enters the movie on a gorgeous grey Andalusian. So beautiful and majestic, with his forelock draped in his face, he really fit the part. In the beginning scene Franco rides into the castle along with his knights. One of his knights played by Damian Lewis, who is a pretty big TV actor, rides in on a very angelic Black Friesian. This guy was a very thick Friesian, who had to be a stud due to the size of his body and neck. I thought this was a weird touch of film choice of horses for the two actors, because the Friesain towered over the Andalusian. But this was a comedy and James Franco played a very goofy guy.

The movie had some huge carriage scenes, but my favorite is an exquisite 4-up team of Freisians. It really took my breath away when they entered the frame. Later in the movie Damian rides his black Friesian through the woods after a 2-up team of Friesains galloping pull a very large carriage. How this horse moved was really refined and graceful. I could watched the whole movie over and over again if it was that horse gliding through the woods like he did in that scene.
Considering the movie was a real comedic mocking of the medieval times, it did some real justice to the steeds. I was thoroughly impressed!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Production Stills

Winter in Wartime

The movie centers around 14-year-old Michiel who becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier, near the end of World War II. With the conflict coming to an end, Michiel comes of age and learns of the stark difference between adventure fantasy and the ugly realities of war.

Looks like some great horse action scenes. This is the first look at the film; no trailer yet.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Horses in Dear John

Autism and Horses in The Romantic Film Dear John
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom and based on the novel by best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, "Dear John" tells the story of John Tyree played by Channing Tatum, a young soldier home on leave, and Savannah Curtis played by Amanda Seyfried, the idealistic college student he falls in love with during her spring vacation. The movie and book spans over the next seven years, the couple is separated by John's increasingly dangerous deployments. While meeting only sporadically, they stay in touch by sending a continuous stream of love letters overseas--which eventually triggers fateful consequences.

What the trailers don't tell you is a story about a young autistic boy who has a certain fondness for Savannah played by Amanda Seyfried. Savannah introduces the young boy to horses, and he builds a bond that gives him extreme hope and courage. The young actor that plays the autistic boy is actually autistic, young autistic actor, Braeden Reed. Livestock Coordinator Dan Hydrick took extreme care in this project. Hydrick had to find the right horse for the job. He visited many different barns looking for the right horses for the film. He went to a friends barn, who's husband had died six months earlier from Alzheimer's, but his wife, Annie Caroline, showed him the different horses, and he told her what he was trying to do. He looked at a horse named Honey. Honey was a smaller horse, just a Quarter Horse, a regular riding school horse. So they introduced the horses that he picked for the role and Braeden come out and fell in love with Honey. And within 10 minutes, He knew it was going to work."

Other films that incorporate the beauty of horses and autism together to the big screen is a Documentary called The Horse Boy and the HBO show called Temple Grandin. Both of these stories are touching and take the lives of these unique kids and the caring nature of the horse and touches them in a way no other could.

Horses in Wolfman

Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, "The Wolfman" brings the myth of a cursed man back to its iconic origins. Oscar® winner Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins), Talbot sets out to find his brother... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself.

The Horse were breathtaking in the film. Mostly Drafts, and Emily Blunt rides a Grey Andalusian, and I might add she rides it quite spectacular. It is obviously that is is winter, due to the fact that every single horse has a thick winter coat.

There were a couple of Friesians. Actor Hugo Weaving rides a pretty small black Friesian, but had a pretty gate. There is a scene where he rides in a full out gallop through the woods after Emily Blunts character who is riding a gorgeous grey Andalusian. Emily completely impressed my with her riding ability. At one point in the scene she rides into camera then crosses out, and this beautiful Spanish horse prances the whole time. It was a great shot!

I was really disappointed in Benicio Del Toro, he was horrible at riding, he was just all over the place. Other then that the horses were casted great and they looked great. Tons of carriages and old English Tack. Great Horse film.