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OTRC: Steven Spielberg talks 'War Horse': 'The horses had to be safe'

Steven Spielberg talks about the subliminal theme of 'War Horse' and how important animal safety was to him.

Steven Spielberg made another epic war film with "War Horse" however, the director said one of the most important things for him while filming was making sure the horses on set were safe.

The war drama film, based on the children's novel and drama play by the same name, tells the story of Joey, a beloved horse of a young Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) that is sold to the British cavalry and shipped to France during World War I.

"War Horse" was directed by Spielberg who said he emphasized the importance of the animals' safety.

"The thing that I kept emphasizing from the very outset was that the horses have to be safe, not even a scratch. The horses had to be safe. If the horse [character] hurts its leg, let's get a trainer to teach the horse how to limp," the Oscar-winning director said in an interview provided by the film's studio, DreamWorks Pictures. "I just didn't want any horses getting hurt. I just didn't want that sword of Damocles hanging over my head for the rest of my life because I love horses. "

The American Humane Society awarded the film an "outstanding" rating for the way the animals were handled with care during the production.

The longtime director also said he was initially amazed by the horses' acting intuition while filming, "There were times in the where I wouldn't even tell the horses what to do and they'd be in a scene and they would be reacting in the scene in ways I couldn't imagine a horse would be able to react or act."

"There are times you just have to sit back and thank your lucky stars that the horses somehow were cognizant that something was required of them that none of us could tell them but they, intuitively, were able to give it to the moment in the scene," he added.

Spielberg also talked about his passion behind the project. "I really wanted to make 'War Horse' because I think it says a lot about courage," he said. "The courage of the boy and what he endures and what he overcomes to achieve what he needs, not just for himself but for his best friend Joey. And it's also about the courage and the tenacity of this extraordinary animal."

He added, "That was the underlying subliminal theme that I think informs every single frame of 'War Horse.'"

The film is nominated for two Golden Globe awards, including a nod for Best Motion Picture - Drama.

The film hits theaters on December 25. Check out the trailer for "War Horse" below.

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