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Colin Farrell: On the wisdom of working with animals and children

Dennis King Published: February 21, 2014
Colin Farrell on Listo
Colin Farrell on Listo


NEW YORK – In “Winter’s Tale,” the lavishly romantic fairy tale adapted from Mark Helprin’s novel, star Colin Farrell soars over the snowy New York City landscape astride a winged white stallion.

While those fantastical scenes were obviously thanks to the magic of computer generated special effects, Farrell, who plays an early 20th century cat burglar pursuing his true love across a century, said he did indeed spend much of the film’s on-location shooting schedule riding that white horse around the streets of the city. And to hear him tell it during press interviews promoting the movie it was both a grand adventure and a routine working chore.

“The horse that I worked with was a beautiful, beautiful character, because horses are people, too,” the actor said. “They differ in the way they carry themselves in the world and the way they interact with each other and with people. Mine was a very kind and understanding horse named Listo.

“There were two horses actually, but the other one was kind of a relief pitcher who came on when Listo was tired or agitated, which he would be having me on his back for eight hours a day,” Farrell said. “But he was a wonderful, wonderful beast. It was the first time I ever flew on a horse, which wasn’t as scary as it would seem. No altitude sickness or fear of heights. Mostly I was in a green-screen studio sitting on a barrel, which is one of the more mundane aspects of the job. But I love working with horses.

“You know people say you shouldn’t work with animals or children, and that’s wrong,” Farrell said, noting that there were also two adorable young child actors in the cast – newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs. “You must only work with children because you only have to work eight hours a day. And I love working with animals. Animals have an honesty that human beings reach to find in their lives at the best of times.”

- Dennis King


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