Steven Spielberg Gets Back In Director's Saddle For 'War Horse'

Adaptation of novel about a horse and a boy in World War I set for 2011 release.

Fresh off of executive-producing HBO's "The Pacific," Steven Spielberg is going back to war, only this time in the director's chair. After leap-frogging around several potential projects, the celebrated filmmaker has chosen to helm "War Horse," an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 1982 young adult novel.

The story sounds a little bit "Black Beauty," a little bit "A Very Long Engagement" (except between a man and his horse). The book is written from the perspective of Joey, an English farm horse who is conscripted into military service during World War I, only to be captured by the Germans. Through it all Joey remembers a bond he formed back on the farm with the young boy who lived there, Albert, now a soldier himself. With man and horse on opposite sides of the war, a reunion is inevitable.

Variety reports that Spielberg will produce with Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Revel Guest. He'll work from a script penned by Lee Hall ("Billy Elliott") and Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a Funeral"). DreamWorks acquired the rights to the book, which was adapted as a stage play last fall, and Spielberg was attached as a producer in December. The studio will team with Disney to release the film on August 10, 2011.

Spielberg has more than just "War Horse" coming in 2011. While he hasn't released a film that he directed since 2008's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," he recently wrapped production on "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn," which hits theaters on December 23, 2011.

"War Horse" has apparently been on the filmmaker's mind since before it was optioned last fall. "From the moment I read [the book], I knew this was a film I wanted DreamWorks to make," he said in December. "Its heart and its message provide a story that can be felt in every country."

Have you read "War Horse" or seen the play? Share your thoughts on the movie adaptation in the comments.

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