[Video interview] ‘1917’ cast, crew unpack the process of their one-shot war drama

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Preston Barta // Features Editor

Opening on Christmas Day is the much-buzzed-about World War I film 1917, directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes (SkyfallAmerican Beauty).

The drama, which was recently named the best film of 2019 by the members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, is made to appear as one continuous shot to further put audiences in the real-time experience. Viewers will be going through the trenches and fields as active participants.

In Mendes’ film — which he co-wrote alongside Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Edgar Wright’s upcoming horror-thriller Last Night in Soho) — two young British soldiers (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay and Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) embark on a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must travel through enemy territory to deliver a message that could save hundreds of lives.

Fresh Fiction sat down with filmmakers Mendes and Cairns and actors MacKay and Chapman to discuss their upcoming war drama. The talents share what it was like to fashion such an intimate and intense experience and how they see this storytelling method changing the way their process going forward.

  • 0:01-5:55 | co-writer/director Sam Mendes
  • 5:55-12:03 | actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman
  • 12:03-18:15 | co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns

1917 opens in select markets on December 25, 2019 – and it expands nationwide on January 10, 2020.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.