Colin Firth & Benedict Cumberbatch Join Sam Mendes' 1917

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The upcoming historical drama 1917 casts Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch in main roles. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film will follow two British soldiers on a single day during World War I. In addition, Shazam!’s Mark Strong has joined the 1917 cast, along with Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden. 

In the 2010s, Mendes has only directed two films, Skyfall and Spectre. Both spy blockbusters are part of the James Bond franchise, which Mendes officially exited in 2015, and later stated that “it’s time for somebody else.” From 1999 to 2009, Mendes kicked off his feature film directing career with American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, and Away We Go. To date, Mendes’ films have received 23 Oscar nominations and nine wins. Now, the 53-year-old English director is focusing on a new cinematic vision post-Bond, and he’s accumulated some of today’s best English actors for a historical English drama, 1917.

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Per The Wrap, Firth, Cumberbatch, Strong and Madden are officially on board for 1917. In addition, production is reportedly set to begin on April 1. Previously, both George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman were cast for the film, which Mendes will co-write with Krysty Wilson-Cairns. In the upcoming film True History of the Kelly Gang, MacKay will star opposite Russell Crowe and Nicholas Hoult. As for Chapman, he’s best known for portraying Game of Thrones' Tommen Baratheon, the doomed son of Cersei Lannister. Alongside the main players for 1917, the following actors are set to appear as well: Adrian Scarborough, Andrew Scott, Claire Duburcq, Jamie Parker, Nabhaan Rizwan, and Daniel Mays.

Last September, Tom Holland was reportedly in talks to star in 1917. Earlier this month, however, Holland officially joined the Russo brothers’ new film Cherry, the true-life story of a former Iraq War army medic with severe PTSD who falls into opioid addiction and begins robbing banks. 

Though Mendes didn’t land Holland, 1917 has a brilliant cast full of established and rising stars. Since appearing on Game of Thrones, Madden has reached the next level of his career, earning a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the TV series Bodyguard. He also has a main role in the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman. Meanwhile, Strong is one of cinema’s most versatile character actors. Of course, 1917’s primary duo, Firth and Cumberbatch, are inarguably two of the most popular English performers of the past decade. 

While the casting news for 1917 is exciting, it’s even more thrilling that Mendes is returning to the war film genre. His 2005 film Jarhead was mostly well-received, but it was based on the experience of American soldiers. Now that Mendes is focused on a distinctly English story, one that's about World War I, perhaps he’ll deliver yet another classic, especially considering the star power of his 1917 cast.

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Source: The Wrap

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