Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winter's Tale: Athansor the horse, is in the house.


I'm about halfway through Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin's 1983, 650 page best selling century-spanning saga set mainly in and around a mythical New York City. The screen adaptation, billed as a romantic fantasy is coming out this Valentine's Day and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Findlay Brown, Russell Crowe, William Hurt and Listo. 



Listo? He's the magnificent seventeen year old Andalusian stallion - the equine actor - that plays Athansor, the fantastical horse that carries Peter Lake across icy lakes, frozen rivers and ultimately time and space. Horsey types are already debating which sexy beast is sexier! It's close, right?



"And then Athansor came bursting out of the side of the ship, his hooves thundering on the ramp, pulling behind him the sleigh with Peter Lake and Beverly. Before the sailors could haul in the planks, Athansor was galloping on the white roads that led into and over the mountains. There were no railings at the thousand-foot drops, but only ice-clad trees and evergreen bushes long encased in thick sarcophagi of snow. They went up and up, ricocheting left and right in terrifying skids, crossing the frozen mountains under a cloudless polar sky. Finally they halted in a small notch and looked west at the greatest plain Peter Lake had ever seen. It stretched for hundreds of miles in three directions, and was covered with forests, fields, rivers, towns and the Lake of the Coheeries - twenty miles distant, silent, snow-covered, wider than the call of a French horn, shimmering on its horizon with white illusory waves, a separate kingdom of the unrecorded frontier. They almost flew down the mountain, and then Athansor ran at ferocious speed along a wide, straight, and snowy road that led to the lake."
The book is filled with passages like that; dazzling descriptions, breathtaking in their scope. In film of course, paragraphs full of carefully crafted images can fly by in a flash; I'm confident though that director Akiva Goldman and Oscar winning genius cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (Zoey's father) will let the camera linger and catch all the magical moments and deliver at the very least, if not an epic love story, a visual feast.

For my lazy Sunday morning post, Listo is in the house! I wish there were sound, a little music maybe and a look at Listo leaping, but a horse in a house is sheer joy to see, wouldn't you agree?

4 comments:

  1. I loved the scene in which Listo walked backwards as another black Lipizzaner walked forward in perfect tandem. How long did it take to train both horses to do that?

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    1. I have no idea, I'm still reading and haven't seen it yet but they are total pro's, aren't they? What did you think of the movie? Clearly the horses are spectacular!

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    2. I love this movie! I recently read an old article about this in Andalusian World. Looks like the horse ridden by Russell Crowe is an American Quarter Horse named Tuff and is owned by Cari Swanson who also owns Listo. Oh and the horse used to do the jumping was Peaches (the only mare on the set) and there were 2 other geldings they used too, but not sure for what scenes, or what breeds (Zeke & Merlin). Looks like the Swanson's have great horses!

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    3. The book was fantastic; I liked the movie a whole lot better than the critics did! They’re hard on both Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe no matter what they do. Not sure why.

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