As far as the war genre goes in cinema, the sub-genre of World War II films has a lengthy and rich history. There’s the true stories – as evidenced by titles such as Schindler’s List or Valkyrie; the imagined scenarios (Inglourious Basterds) and even the coming of age tales set against the horrendous backdrop of war as in Elem Klimov’s staggering World War II classic, Come and See.
One unifying factor amongst all these very disparate titles however, is that in order to pull them off, a director with considerable stamina and vision is required. With news having recently broken that Christopher Nolan’s next project will be directing Dunkirk – the World War II film he also wrote – a powerful level of intrigue surrounds this filmmaking challenge.
So far, Nolan has cast some respectable names for Dunkirk, including Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), but rumours have persisted regarding the director’s plan to round out the roster with largely unknown young actors. Evidence of this theory is now building with The Wrap‘s report that Nolan is eyeing British newcomer Fionn Whitehead to play one of the film’s two leads.
A quick glance at Whitehead’s IMDB profile reveals that he’s only had one role in his professional acting career thus far – a British mini-series entitled Him. The young actor also doesn’t appear (as of this writing) to have US representation yet, making any attempt at confirming whether or not he’s signed on for Dunkirk that much more difficult. What is currently known is that Nolan has been testing numerous young actors for weeks and that by and large, the actors are unknown.
Because the film tells the story of Operation Dynamo (the British army’s effort to save 330,000 allied soldiers from certain death in 1940 after being surrounded by German troops in the French town of Dunkirk), it makes sense that Nolan would be looking for young actors. By also ensuring that these actors are unknown, Nolan is creating characters without celebrity status, meaning they’ll ultimately feel more realistic to audiences. We already know that the director has refused to use CGI and plans to use real World War II battleships, so early signs are pointing to Nolan’s vision being particularly focussed on creating something phenomenal.
Over the past few years, Christopher Nolan has become known as a director whose films aim for larger than life status. While he arguably hasn’t quite made that sort of landmark film yet, Dunkirk’s potential as something truly career defining could end up taking him to that rare next level of filmmaking.
Dunkirk opens in U.S. theaters on July 21st, 2017.
Source: The Wrap