Get a First Look at Disney Plus’ ‘Black Beauty,’ Starring Kate Winslet (Exclusive)
Disney+ is ready to introduce a new generation of horse girls to Black Beauty. The timeless tale of one horse’s unbreakable bond with a special young person gets an update courtesy of director Ashley Avis, who first read 19th century author Anna Sewell’s novel when she was a child.
“Like so many people, it really impacted me. I just wanted to be part of the world of horses,” she tells ET. “I grew up on this book, and it very much influenced my entire life and the way everything has panned out with my love of horses.”
Kate Winslet voices the titular mare, who in Avis’ reimaging is born in the wild of the American West. Beauty is soon rounded up and taken to a stable, where she meets a spirited teenage girl (Mackenzie Foy) and both of their lives are forever changed.
Along with these new photos from the film, ET can exclusively announce that Black Beauty will debut on Disney+ on Nov. 27. Read on for a chat with Avis about paying homage to the original and how she hopes this movie will do good in the world.
What was the inspiration for wanting to tell your own version of Black Beauty?
I read Beauty and just became a horse crazy kid, like many other women do. [Laughs] The Black Stallion was another seminal novel for me. I asked my mom if I could take riding lessons and I competed until I went to college, [then] my life went a different direction. I wanted to go to the Olympics when I was younger, but that wasn’t the way fate was directing me at the time. About a decade passed before horses reentered my life, and the way this happened was really interestingly serendipitous.
I met [producer] Jeremy Bolt about three years ago. I knew him for the Resident Evil franchise, so I went into that meeting not quite sure what to pitch, because I don’t really write in that particular genre. But he’s such a kind, lovely person. We talked about stories that had inspired us to go into our line of business, and I mentioned The Black Stallion. The scene on the beach between Alec and Black, in the ’70s version of that film, it’s five minutes set to score and it’s the connection between a horse and a human. It’s just one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in cinema. If Black Beauty inspired my love of horses, The Black Stallion helped to inspire my love of film. And Jeremy said, “Well, that’s interesting you say that, because my partner and I have wanted to remake Black Beauty for 10 years.” The only things they knew that they wanted to do [were] they wanted to modernize the story and they wanted Beauty to be female. And then they left it up to me.