Christopher Nolan is one of—if not the—biggest filmmakers working today. When you talk about directors who can walk into a studio, say “I want to make this,” and be handed an instant greenlight and an enormous budget, Nolan is at the very top of the list. Even Steven Spielberg has trouble getting his films financed these days, but having proved himself consistently reliable both with critics and at the box office—and with original material to boot—Nolan’s pretty much got carte blanche at this point in his career. So when he sets out to make a World War II epic with his next film Dunkirk, we know it’s got the potential to be something truly special.
Indeed, Nolan scripted this true-story action-thriller that chronicles the evacuation of Dunkirk during the British military operation that saved 330,000 lives as Allied soldiers were surrounded by German forces. The Interstellar filmmaker opted to enlist mostly newcomers for his protagonists, but the ensemble is filled out with impeccable performers in supporting roles, including Oscar-winning Bridge of Spies and The BFG star Mark Rylance.
During an appearance on the Empire podcast recently to promote The BFG (which is pretty special—see it!), Rylance spoke briefly about his experience on Dunkirk, teasing that Nolan is putting together something really fascinating:
“Chris is the most serious and interesting filmmaker. Every great filmmaker at some moment makes a war film. But Chris’ script-writing is so brilliant that I think he has the potential to make a very, very powerful and simple, pure war film about a miraculous loss. I think it has the potential to be just a marvelous film.”
The actor, who is reteaming with Spielberg on that filmmaker’s next two films Ready Player One and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, went on to say that audiences can expect to be thrown directly into the action with Dunkirk a la Spielberg’s own Saving Private Ryan:
“With some of those old war films you used to get a lot of build-up, you play the guessing game: who’s going to die and who’s going to live. This one has none of that. It’s just BANG! Straight into the middle of a desperate situation.”
Nolan is shooting the entire film on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format photography, reteaming with his Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, so it sounds like this is going to be one intense war movie. Cannot wait.
Dunkirk opens in theaters on July 21, 2017 and also stars Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, James D’Arcy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles.