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Post-Derby news: Spielberg riding 'War Horse'

May 3, 2010 |  3:43 pm

Steven Spielberg got behind the camera two years ago for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (UPDATED -- and recently, of course, finished shooting "The Adventures of Tintin"). His next outing will be adventuresome...in a different way.

According to Variety, Spielberg has chosen "War Horse," the adaptation of the Michael Morpurgo novel about a boy and his horse in WWI-era Europe. The book, whose rights DreamWorks bought last year, was turned into a play and became a sensation on London's West End (that's the trailer for it above). Audiences and critics were moved by the episodic adventures and the boy's search for the horse, from which he's separated at the beginning of the war. The play is also headed to Broadway, which should give it plenty of name recognition stateside by the time it comes out here in 2011 or thereabouts.

Speculation about Spielberg's next directorial move -- his first under the reconstituted DreamWorks -- has been rampant for months, especially after he opted not to direct the remake of the 1950 Jimmy Stewart offbeat classic "Harvey" (which also involved a man and his beloved animal).

Despite the other differences, there's something equally classic about this one, which is set in period, tells an action-filled linear story and also offers plenty of emotional uplift of (in fact, something about it evokes "The Black Stallion," if by way of "Hope and Glory"). Most directors and studios these days are going for the superhero and the flash in their commercial projects. Spielberg is sticking to what's brought him here.

--Steven Zeitchik

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