From the low budget indie film Following to the science fiction epic Interstellar, director Christopher Nolan's projects seem to get progressively bigger and bigger. Since Interstellar's release, however, it has been unknown what exactly Nolan's next project would be.
Rumors very recently surfaced about that next project, suggesting that it would be a war movie that takes place specifically during World War II. As of yesterday (at the time of writing this) there was no confirmation of those rumors, but that has now changed.
Variety is reporting that the new film is confirmed as Dunkirk, a WWII movie about the evacuation of the French city of the same name. Nolan reportedly wrote the script to the film in addition to taking on directorial duties. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), and Tom Hardy (Nolan's Inception and Dark Knight Rises costar) are in talks to join the film's cast. The article quotes a confirmation of the project from Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production for Warner Bros.:
"We are thrilled to be continuing our collaboration with Christopher Nolan, a singular filmmaker who has created some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films of all time. Dunkirk is a gripping and powerful story and we are excited to see Chris, Emma and their cast realize it on the big screen."
The Emma mentioned in the quote is Emma Thomas, who has been Nolan's producing partner (and wife) since his short film Doodlebug back in 1997. Shooting will begin in May and will take place primarily in the actual Dunkirk area. In addition to the aforementioned actors, Nolan has also begun casting in London for younger, "teenage" lead roles.
The World War II drama is a well-covered field by this point, from earlier classics such as Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory to Suicide Squad writer/director David Ayer's 2014 film Fury. In recent years, those films are often released toward the end of the year as prestige pictures for award season, but Dunkirk's July release date puts it squarely in blockbuster movie season instead. That could be seen as a sign that Warner Bros. expects the movie to bring in big ticket sales instead of just critical accolades.
Whether or not the film has crossover appeal for mainstream audiences is anybody's guess this early in the process. Interstellar was a particularly polarizing movie, and before that Nolan turned in what was arguably his weakest entry in the Batman franchise with The Dark Knight Rises. Still, Nolan is a big name director and expectations will be high for him to release a film that is more than just another WWII-era war movie.
Dunkirk opens in U.S. theaters on July 21, 2017.