There were some early cast reports concerning Steven Spielberg’s next film, War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel of the same name, and it would appear the reports were half-right as upcoming Thor villain, Tom Hiddleston, is in talks to join the cast. As for the rest of the names, there are plenty you should recognize though the lead actor is pretty much a complete unknown.
Empire delivers the casting report announcing Jeremy Irvine (pictured) will play the lead role of Albert. The film is set against the backdrop of World War I, and follows the extraordinary friendship between Albert and his horse, Joey. The two are separated but their fates continue to intertwine over the course of WWI as Joey is sold into the British army and sent off to serve on the battlefields of France. Irvine’s acting career involves work the National Youth Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as a role on the Disney Channel UK’s “Life Bites” in 2008, but that’s where any commercial efforts end.
Irvine is joined by Emily Watson (Synecdoche, New York) and Peter Mullan (Trainspotting) who play his mother and father, Benedict Cumberbatch (Paul Marshall in Atonement) will play military man Major Stewart and Niels Arestrup (A Prophet) plays the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in. David Thewlis (Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter franchise), Nicolas Bro, David Kross (The Reader), Leonard Carow, Rainer Bock (General Schonherr in Inglourious Basterds), Robert Emms and Patrick Kennedy round out the confirmed cast with both Hiddleston and Stephen Graham (Baby Face Nelson from Public Enemies) in talks to also star.
After flirting with several projects including his long-gestating Lincoln biopic and potentially remaking James Stewart’s Harvey, War Horse will serve as Spielberg’s second directorial outing since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, and it is likely it will hit theaters around the same time as his other picture, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which is set for a December 23, 2011 release. Tintin is already in post-production while War Horse starts shooting in the UK in August.