NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t AIR

In addition to casting actors, the Coen brothers were faced with the difficulty of casting horses in True Grit, a task they initially approached with great trepidation. (For most of the movie, the actors are on horseback.) Equine actors “are difficult to deal with for a number of reasons,” says Joel Coen. “But we were lucky to work with probably the best horse wranglers in the business. And they do extraordinary things with the horses. The horses will often hit their marks in ways you sometimes wish the actors were capable of doing. But we were doing a lot of very complicated things with the horses, and there are restrictions on what you can do with animals — and horses in particular — which are there for very good reasons.” For instance, if you wanted a horse to fall down 20 years ago, Ethan says, you could have simply tripped the horse. “You’re not allowed to do that, with good reason,” he says. “But it makes it very difficult. The horses have to be trained, and they have to want to fall down.” There are also rules in place about how close moving camera equipment can be to horses, who is allowed to touch a horse, and what the water temperature must be for aquatic scenes involving horses. “It seems odd, because we were throwing actors in there with the horses, and the actors weren’t complaining,” Ethan says. “There’s frequently things you can do with actors that you can’t do with animals,” jokes Joel. “That’s actually quite common. The horses are protected but the union isn’t saying anything about putting the 13-year-old in freezing water.” MORE

[Illustration by Antony Hare]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *