From Inception and Interstellar to The Dark Knight Trilogy, the most recent films from director Christopher Nolan have certainly been big, bold and thought-provoking. The varied content of each project makes it hard to consider what might be next for the filmmaker – especially after a release date was announced for his new secret project.
This was followed a few months later by the confirmation that his next feature – which he also penned – would be a WWII epic entitled Dunkirk. As the title suggests, the film focuses in on Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the Allied forces from France in June 1940 – arguably the lowest point in the fight against Hitler. Joining the British-dominated cast will be Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and Nolan veteran Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception).
Since shooting starts this summer in IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film, there has been speculation as to whether Wally Pfister will return. Pfister has been cinematographer on most of Nolan’s projects since Memoto back in 2000. However, the latest news is that Nolan has hired Hoyte van Hoytema, who replaced Pfister on Interstellar due to scheduling conflicts. The news came as van Hoytema, a Dutch-Swede, recently joined the American Society of Cinematographers. A note accompanying the announcement states that van Hoytema is “currently prepping an untitled feature for director Christopher Nolan, with whom he first collaborated on Interstellar.”
Since the only film Nolan is working on at the moment is Dunkirk it’s fair to conclude that this ‘untitled feature’ must certainly refer to that. The decision to stick with van Hoytema – rather than go back to his usual collaboration with Pfister – suggests that Nolan was impressed with the cinematographer’s work on Interstellar. After all, van Hoytema has had a great track record with films like Let the Right One In, Tinker Taylor Solider Spy and The Fighter. His most recent work was on Bond’s latest outing Spectre, which had some beautiful cinematography.
Nolan and van Hoytema wowed audiences with Interstellar – beautifully captured on 65mm with an IMAX presentation in mind. It would naturally be interesting to see how they use this format for a historical war film. If Saving Private Ryan’s D-Day opening managed to stun audiences without 65mm it should be no problem for Nolan and van Hoytema to up their game and make it even more immersive. We’ll just have to wait until next year to see if the best-dressed director since Hitchcock can pull it off.
Dunkirk starts shooting this summer and will be released July 21, 2017.