warhorse1xWhen Steven Spielberg weighed choices for the first live action film to kick off the DreamWorks/ Reliance/ Disney relationship, word was the bigger the better. From the cast he’s announced for his adaptation of the Michael Morpugo novel War Horse, the onus is on Spielberg’s own starpower. Most of the cast is new to me. The lead in the movie adaptation of the hit Nick Stafford stage play will be teen British newcomer Jeremy Irvine. Spielberg has Emily Watson and David Thewlis as the young horseman’s parents. The rest of the lineup: Peter Mullan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, Nicolas Bro, David Kross, Leonard Carow, Rainer Bock, Robert Emma and Patrick Kennedy. Last time Spielberg made a period war movie with a young actor discovery, he misfired (at least from a box office standpoint) with Empire of the Sun and a pint-sized Christian Bale. We’ll see how this one works out when Disney releases it August 11, 2011. Awareness on the British play will rise when it moves to Lincoln Center next April.