Thursday 22 February 2018

War Horse painting made a reality

Michael Morpurgo with the painting of Joey the horse
Michael Morpurgo with the painting of Joey the horse

A fictional painting from Steven Spielberg's big screen adaptation of War Horse is to be hung for real in a Devon village hall for fans to see.

In the introduction to the best-selling book the blockbuster is based on, author Michael Morpurgo conjured up an image of a village hall where a clock always stood at one minute past 10 and a small dusty painting of a horse hung on the wall.

Fans of the book and the hit stage production began making pilgrimages to the village hall in Iddesleigh, Devon and were disappointed to find the picture didn't exist.

When Spielberg commissioned artist Ali Bannister to recreate the picture for his film, starring Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Thewlis, the writer asked her to make one for the village hall for visiting War Horse fans to see.

Michael, 68 explained: "When the movie was being made, Spielberg commissioned an artist to do some sketches of the horse.

"We went on set and met her and it was my wife's idea, that because of this thing that kept happening in the village, she thought it would be nice if there was a horse and painted just like it should be.

"So we said to Ali, would she like to come down and see the place, and she took the commission."

The Warhorse, written in 1981, tells the story of Joey the horse's amazing journey from a Devon farm to the battlefields in France.

Michael said: "I think people wanted to believe that this horse was there hanging in the village hall, because for some people, it was a story that they loved and I think when you love a story you really want to believe in at least the truth of some part of it."

Press Association

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