Paint Horses earn starring roles in Walt Disney Pictures'
action-adventure shooting on location in Morocco, California, Montana,
South Dakota and Texas
an epic action-adventure from Walt Disney Pictures, based on the
true story of the greatest long-distance horse race in history,
started production recently and will feature a registered American
Paint Horse in the starring role. In all, five American Paint Horses
are being used at various times to play the role of Hidalgo, the
colorful equine star of the film.
Pony Express rider Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), center,
becomes the first American ever to enter the Ocean of Firethe
greatest endurance horse race ever runin Walt Disney Pictures'
epic adventure, "Hidalgo." A total of five registered
American Paint Horses are being used in the film to play the role
of the legendary horse, Hidalgo.
(Photo by Richard Cartwright. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.)
by Joe Johnston and produced by Casey Silver, the film stars Viggo
Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinson, and Omar Sharif. John Fusco, whose
screenwriting credits include "Thunderheart," "Young
Guns," and the animated feature, "Spirit: Stallion of
the Cimarron," wrote the original screenplay. Don Zepfel is
the film's executive producer. The film will be distributed by Buena
Vista Pictures Distribution and will be released Oct. 3, 2003.
on the true story of the greatest long-distance horse race ever
run, Hidalgo is one man's journey of personal redemption. Held yearly
for centuries, the Ocean of Firea 3,000 mile survival race
across the Arabian Desertwas a challenge restricted to the
finest Arabian horses ever bred, the purest and noblest lines, owned
by the greatest royal families.
1890, a wealthy sheik invited an American and his horse to enter
the race for the first time. Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen)
was a cowboy and dispatch rider for the U.S. Cavalry who had once
been billed as the greatest endurance rider the West had ever known.
The Sheikh (Omar Sharif) would put this claim to the test, pitting
the American cowboy and his mustang, Hidalgo, against the world's
greatest Arabian horses and Bedouin riders - some of whom were determined
to prevent the foreigner from finishing the race. For Frank, the
Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride and honor, but
also a race for his very survival as he and his horse, Hidalgo,
attempt the impossible.
for the motion picture include California, Montana, South Dakota,
Texas and extended shooting in Morocco.
American Paint Horse stars of the show
The American Paint Horse stars include the following APHA registered
horses: Ima Stage Mount Two, Honky Tonkin Tuff, Impressivelybetter,
RH Tecontender and RJ Masterbug. According to Walt Disney officials,
the horses were selected based on the similar coat patterns they
share with the true-life horse, Hidalgo, as well as their athletic
abilities and trainability. World-renowned horse trainer Rex Peterson
was instrumental in selecting the horses. Peterson, who serves as
horse trainer in the film, has many Hollywood movies to his credit,
including "Black Beauty" and "The Horse Whisperer."
Viggo Mortensen (Frank T. Hopkins) was most recently seen as Strider
in the first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also
starred in the second film, "The Two Towers," which was
released at the end of 2002, and the third, "Return of the
King," in 2003. Mortensen made his screen debut in Peter Weir's
"Witness." Some of his other film credits include "Indian
Runner," "Carlito's Way," "A Perfect Murder,"
"Crimson Tide," and "A Walk on the Moon."
Zuleikha Robinson (Jazira) has credits in film, television and stage
in her young career. She was recently seen in Mike Figgis' "Timecode"
as well as in "X-Files" creator Chris Carter's drama series,
"The Lone Gunmen."
Sharif (Sheikh Riyadh) has amassed an illustrious film career including
an Academy Award® nomination for his role of Ali Ibn Kharish
in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia." He won a second
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Lean's "Doctor Zhivago."
He has starred in over 60 motion pictures, including "Funny
Girl" and "Funny Lady," both with Barbra Streisand.
an eclectic range of film credits, director Joe Johnston previously
directed "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "The Rocketeer,"
"Jumanji," "October Sky," and "Jurassic
Park III." Prior to directing, Johnston was an Academy Award®-winning
visual effects designer for both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,
working on "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back,"
and "Return of the Jedi" as well as "Raiders of the
Lost Ark" and its sequel, "Indiana Jones and the Temple
Casey Silver began Casey Silver Productions in October 1999 after
serving as chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Pictures.
He recently finished production on "Gigli," his first
feature film as an independent producer. The film stars Ben Affleck
and Jennifer Lopez and is due for release next spring. He currently
has some 30 properties in development.
personnel on Hidalgo include Shelly Johnson, director of photography;
Barry Robison, production designer; Jeffrey Kurland, costume designer
and Robert Dalva, editor.