Spielberg, Kennedy among those set to produce
Steven Spielberg is turning his attentions to World War I.The multihyphenate — who has explored World War II in a number of projects from “Saving Private Ryan” to “Band of Brothers” — is taking on the Great War by acquiring the rights to Michael Morpurgo’s novel “War Horse” with DreamWorks partner Stacey Snider. Spielberg is on board to produce the dramatic adventure alongside Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Revel Guest. “Billy Elliot” scribe Lee Hall has been tapped to pen the screenplay. Epic tale recounts the extraordinary friendship between a boy and a horse who are separated but whose fates continue to be intertwined over the course of WWI. Spielberg, who is currently mulling his options for his next directing vehicle and is expected to pick something inside the DreamWorks fold, said he connected with book’s universal themes. From the moment I read (the book), I knew this was a film I wanted DreamWorks to make,” he said. “Its heart and its message provide a story that can be felt in every country.” DW remained mum about whether Spielberg is considering helming “War Horse.” War Horse” was first published in 1982 when it was a runner-up for the prestigious Whitbread Award. Morpurgo is the best-selling author of more than 120 books for children including “Kensuke’s Kingdom” and “Private Peaceful.” The hit stage adaptation of “War Horse,” written by Nick Stafford and directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, was first produced at London’s National Theater in 2007. It has since played successful repeat engagements in the West End and is tipped for a Broadway transfer next season. Hall also wrote the book and lyrics for the stage musical adaptation of “Billy Elliot.”
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