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.