A couple of new behind-the-scenes featurettes for Dunkirk have landed online, revealing how the challenging shoot came together. In the more lengthy featurette, writer/director Christopher Nolan, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, and more explain how they made the IMAX format work for such a location-heavy shoot, revealing that they had to actually start inventing technology to get the cameras to fit in things like a Spitfire fighter plane. The entire movie was shot with large-format film, with 75% of it being presented in IMAX. The reason the whole thing isn’t IMAX is that Nolan still uses the IMAX film cameras, which are incredibly loud, and he’s also not a fan of recording the dialogue in post-production (i.e. ADR). So for certain dialogue scenes they would switch to the quieter 65mm cameras.
The early reactions to the film praised the intensity and indeed the IMAX photography, but were curiously quiet regarding the film’s actual characters and story. I’m still very much looking forward to seeing Dunkirk, but it sounds like it’s very much an experiential film and not necessarily one that’s heavy with plot, dialogue, or character development. Which, when you’re Christopher Nolan and using some of the best cameras and techniques in the world, might just be enough.
Check out both behind-the-scenes Dunkirk featurettes below. Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Dunkirk opens on July 21st.