All Hat director opens up about Ontario western
Philip Cheung/getty images
There’s an old movie adage that warns against working with animals or children. In the case of All Hat, the western based on the novel by Brad Smith, the horses at the centre of the film were both a pleasure and a challenge to work with, the film’s director says.
“We had a horse that was kind of an amazing horse named Bo and Bo was kind of a misfit; he would have been sold for glue if he hadn’t befriended this wrangler,” Leonard Farlinger says during the Toronto International Film Festival.
“It’s hard to work with horses, but not impossible,” he adds. “They’re not like dogs; they’re smart like dogs but they’re not as necessarily eager to please ... but anytime you shoot them, they look fantastic.”
Set in Ontario, the film tells the story of a man released from prison who finds the rural landscape around him changing. Farms are being bought out by the heir of a thoroughbred dynasty, who intends to build a golf course. With the community struggling to maintain its way of life, locals hatch a plan set around horse racing.
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The film was a challenge for its star, Luke Kirby, who had never ridden a horse before. During training at a California ranch, the horse Kirby was riding took off suddenly.
“He was going so fast and he was booking it,” he says, “and I had no idea what was going on and I was afraid I was going to die, so I actually slipped my feet out of the stirrups and I lifted myself onto the saddle and then I jumped off of him.
“So I didn’t really get thrown — I jumped,” he says.
All Hat opened Friday.