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    [RC] Hopkins movie to be released next summer - Andrea Day

    For those interested, this article recently out on the movie about Frank Hopkins:
    (Who else could play the quintessential sheik??)

    Online archives from Golden Triangle Newspapers
    September 04, 2002
    Lights! Camera! Action! Disney movie filmed here
    By Paul Overlie For The Cut Bank Pioneer Press

    Film crews from Disney studios were in St. Mary last week shooting scenes for their upcoming movie Hidalgo. The movie is a based on the life of Frank Hopkins, who was known in his time as one of the world's best long-distance horse racers. Frank isn't the only central character. His horse, that's right the horse's name is Hidalgo, is also central to the movie.

    "Hopkins worked as a Calvary scout," Film Coordinator Mike Hubert said. "He raced horses across hundreds of miles and he just never lost."

    The film is set in 1890 and really gets going when Hopkins is invited to race in a desert race in the Middle East.

    "There is a race in the Arabian Desert that covers about 3,000 miles," Unit Publicist Dave Fulton said. "It is known as the world's greatest endurance race. In those days about the only horses to run that race were purebred Arabians but a Sheik heard Frank referred to as the greatest endurance racer in the world and invited him to race in the desert."

    This happened while Hopkins worked with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. As you might have guessed, Frank and Hidalgo head across the ocean and take up the challenge.

    "Hidalgo is a very talented horse and a central character in the story," Fulton said. "I won't say any more about the film because I don't want to give the ending away."

    That is what the crews are doing in Montana, shooting that ending. From here it is off to Morocco for the desert scenes and then shooting in South Dakota.

    "The film is directed by Joe Johnston who also directed Jurassic Park III, October Sky, Rocketeer and Jumangi," Fulton said. "Viggo Mortensen stars in the film, you will remember him as the first human encountered in Lord of the Rings. The female lead is played by newcomer Zuleikha Robinson and Omar Sharif will play the Sheik."

    The producer is a man who is striking out on his own after many years as the top executive at Universal Studios, Casey Silver.

    "The director wants as much realism as possible," Fulton said. "That's why we are here and why we are going all the way to Morocco and South Dakota. Frank did a lot of racing in North America and I believe he was half Lakota Sioux."

    As to when this movie will hit the theaters, local residents will have to wait awhile.

    "This will be the big Disney release for next summer," Fulton said.

    It sounds like this will be a real good movie so local residents should be waiting in anticipation of solid entertainment as well as a movie featuring this part of the country.

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