Sam Mendes' new film, 1917, will portray the horrors of World War I from an interesting concept. The feature was made to look like it has no cuts, a sequence plan from start to finish. The filmmaker relied on experienced cinematographer Roger Deakins to get the feeling that everything the audience is seeing happens in “real time”.
"The biggest challenge was having the camera connected to the characters so she was in the right place to tell the story, to get the right reactions, to see the scenes, the surroundings," Deakins explained. "So it was like a great dance. Any movie you make needs to imagine, 'Oh, what do we want to show in this scene? Do we need to see a reaction? What is the best angle?' But obviously all of this had to work uncut here. ”
And it wasn't just Deakins who had to prepare to handle the production. The cast also faced some challenges during the shoot. The film stars Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, but experienced Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Richard Madden had to deal with shots that lasted more than 8 minutes, as Sam Mendes explains.
"It was really interesting because you had people like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott, a little nervous," Mendes recalls. "They couldn't make this five, six, seven, eight minute shot in the close-up or cover series. You can't work it out in small pieces, you have to get it right at once. There were times when I thought, 'You know. no, please no, right in the end, something went wrong. ”But the joy and feeling when you got it right, and the feeling when you got it, is awesome.”
Sam Mendes, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman during the 1917 recordings (Source: IMDb / Reproduction)
But Mendes said he made a point of clarifying things even before the actors agreed to work on the film. For the director it was important for everyone to be aware of what the recordings would be like.
"In fact, I wrote on the front page of the script: 'This is going to be a sequel.' So it's like saying, 'If you don't want to make an uncut movie, don't do that, don't open the script.' But when you read the script, it makes sense. It's two hours in real time, it's two guys who follow the destroyed landscape of World War I in 1917, "explained the filmmaker.
1917 accompanies two young British soldiers who, at the height of World War II, must deliver a message that could save the lives of 1,600 men. Over the course of almost two hours, the audience will follow this journey “in real time”. In Brazil, the film opens on February 13.