How filmmakers created that sandstorm love scene in ‘ALLIED’

Brad Pitt plays Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard plays Marianne Beausejour in Allied from Paramount Pictures.

Brad Pitt plays Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard plays Marianne Beausejour in Allied from Paramount Pictures.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Director Robert Zemeckis is known for his transportive filmmaking. And nothing feels more immersive in his latest film, ALLIED, than the scene in the car when the two spies (played by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard) make love during a swirling sandstorm. Chaos surrounds them, but the only thing that matters is that little world they’ve created in that car. Swoon!

During the film’s Los Angeles press conference, Zemeckis credited Steven Knight’s script for making it easy.

That was written in the screenplay. It was all there. I just ran with it.

Cotillard said choreographing the scene led to creative freedom.

That’s the kind of scene that’s not very easy, but we rehearsed. We had very determined choreography. It allows you freedom. When you know exactly what your body will do, then you can act and be free to give the emotion and the feelings, because you won’t think, ‘What am I going to do next? Am I going to go on top of him?’ It’s an awkward situation. The three of us with Bob sat in this car – which is a fake car when we rehearsed. We laughed because you need to get it out. You get this time to look at each other and say, ‘This is so weird.’ When it’s decided, it’s just easy and you’re in your character and everything happens because it’s the authenticity of the character.

Zemeckis ellaborated,

It was crucial that we choreographed everything ahead of time. That’s the only way. It’s exactly like doing a dance number. It’s all just movement and rhythm. There’s no lines to advance the story so it all becomes a dance. That’s how we approached it.

Producing partner Steve Starkey added,

On top of that, there’s choreography with the cameras. It really had to be well structured so that Bob could design and tell his camera operators what they were going to be doing in relation to what [the actors] were doing. The whole thing became a dance number that everybody knew what everyone was doing.

Knight was happy with the final product, stating,

The execution of the love-making scene is just beautiful.

ALLIED opens on November 23.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.