ON THE SLATE WITH MIKE DE LUCA — THE STROKE MY WAR HORSE EDITION (07.01.11)

THE STROKE MY WAR HORSE EDITION

Welcome, readers. I’m Mike De Luca and this is ON THE SLATE. This is where we talk about what’s hot, what’s not, what’s overrated, what’s underrated, what’s awful, what’s awesome…well you know, we met on that episode of “To Catch A Predator”. You read me back my web logs, I ate some cookies, you told me your name was Chris Hansen and then we…Wait, that wasn’t you? That wasn’t you who told them to turn of the cameras while we…Shit. I have to stop driving two hours to go to strange houses in Florida. Well, anyway, welcome! One week we might talk about Macauley Culkin’s rippling torso, or offer up unfiltered commentary on my days as Michelle Bachmann’s servant of love. But, before we begin, there are three things you need to know — #1 — This is ON THE SLATE with Mike De Luca. #2 — I did not produce “Blade” (but I assure you mine is long). #3 — Something’s glowing red and it’s not my finger. Let’s begin…

My friends, Spielberg is playing with himself. I mean, playing against himself. The maestro is releasing his adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel “War Horse” on Dec. 28, just five days after his new foray into motion capture 3-D animation, “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of The Unicorn”. And you can watch the trailer here. John Williams, World War, panoramic scope, images juxtaposing brutality and innocence. You think Spielberg would have been all over this sooner, but it has been a long trip from page to screen.

Published in Great Britain in 1982, Morpugo’s novel told the story of a young boy named Albert whose beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and is sent to France at the outbreak of World War One. In the trenches, Joey’s rider, a Capt. Nichols is injured. Albert, too young to enlist, senses something is wrong with Joey, and the boy, who is too young to enlist , goes on a mission to rescue his horse. The novel was inspired in part by an experience Morpugo had with Farms For City Children, a charity program founded him and his wife, where inner city kids work on a farm for a week. One year, he encountered a young boy with a stammer who was frightened to speak. One night, Morpugo walked out on a “dark November evening” and found the boy in the stables talking intently to a horse, his words flowing perfectly. And according to Morpugo, the horse was listening:

“All the fear had gone, and there was something about the intimacy of this relationship, the trust was building up between boy and horse, that I found enormously moving, and I thought, ‘Well yes, you could write a story about the First World War through the eyes of a horse, let the horse tell the story, and let the story of the war come through the soldiers: British soldiers first of all, then German soldiers, then a French family with whom the horse spends winters, and that maybe you’ll then get a universal idea of the suffering of the First World War’. So, in a way, I just took a gamble and went for it, and then wrote like a horse for about six months.”

But it was the stage play that caught Spielberg’s eye. Adapted by playwright Nick Stafford, and featuring eye-catching life size horse puppets from South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, it first opened at the Royal National-Olivier Theatre in South Bank, London in October 2007, before transferring to the West End in 2009, and to Broadway in 2011. The play has garnered many awards along the way: 2 Olivier Awards, an Evening Standard Theatre Award, and a London Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for the 2009 production, and 5 Tonys for the Broadway production, including Best Play. Consequently, Spielberg bought up the rights, had Richard Curtis and Lee Hall write the script, threw in John Williams, real horses, the dude from “Sherlock”, Janusz Kaminski’s shafts of light, and here we are today. But I think the journey of the novel to screen confirms a universal truth: people love f**kin horses. Next!

Charlie Sheen’s last “goddess” has left him. I have now filled the job. Boy, can I rock a size 8. Moving on…

My friends, Tom Cruise is still mounting buildings. Tall ones. And I thank God for that. The “Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol” trailer is finally here. You have guns, bullets, Tom Cruise nearly getting run over by a car, Tom Cruise, getting shot at some more, Tom Cruise hanging from the tallest building in the world (at 2,717 feet, in Dubai), and Tom Cruise looking angry and pointing his gun at Jeremy Renner, who looks he’d rather be at craft service. You have Simon Pegg back Benjy the computer geek. Tom Wilkinson is in the hizzie giving Ethan Hunt his mission, whether he chooses to accept, but Wilkinson is such a sexy bastard, why wouldn’t he? And Paula Patton is the new female lead, which begs the question: will Ethan Hunt’s wife turn out to be a fembot? I will say this: if they let Renner, who looks older than Cruise, take over the series, I quit. I am done. Until then, I will wonder one thing: where the hell is Ving Rhames? Next!

Between hot wax massages, My new employer the good Mr. Sheen recently told Sports Illustrated that he used steroids during the making of “Major League”. This comes as a bit of a shock. The idea of Charlie Sheen using drugs…I feel betrayed, as I use Tiger Blood. Moving on…

Oh, and a trailer for Paul W.S. Anderson’s “The Three Musketeers 3D” has been released, if you are into that sort of thing. (And hate life and literature, art in general, Tom Hanks, America, your friends…)

Until next time, this is ON THE SLATE urging you all to celebrate this 4th of July by becoming independent…from your pants,

Your Captain America Love Doll,

Mike


Still quiet here.sas

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