Steven Spielberg's forthcoming film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse will now be released on December 28, 2011, in lieu of the previously announced August 11, according to a report in Variety.

Set against the backdrop of World War I, the book follows the friendship between a boy and a horse who are separated but whose fates continue to intertwine over the course of the Great War. Lee Hall and Richard Curtis are writing the screenplay for the film.

The film will feature Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Emms, Patrick Kennedy, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, David Kross, Rainer Bock, Nicolas Bro, and Leonard Carow. Additional casting is still to be announced.

A stage adaptation of the work, by Nick Stafford, began a run at the National Theatre in London in 2007, and transferred to the West End in 2009, where it is still running. A production of the show will be presented by Lincoln Center Theatre at the Vivian Beaumont beginning in March 2011.

In related news, Dreamworks has also announced that it will release the movie The Help on August 12, 2011. The film is set in 1962 and concerns a young white woman who collects the stories of the black women on whom the country club set relies. The cast includes, as previously announced, Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Bryce Dallas Howard, David Oyelowo, Emma Stone, and Octavia Spencer.