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‘Dunkirk’: Christopher Nolan Wanted to Shoot His World War II Drama Without a Script

Instead, he just decided to make the dialogue hard to understand.


Courtesy of Warner bRos. Picture

If you’ve seen “Dunkirk,” then you already know that Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller is light on dialogue. According to the film’s published screenplay, which includes a conversation between the director and his brother/usual screenwriting partner Jonathan, Nolan considered shooting the film without a script: “I said, ‘I don’t want a script. Because I just want to show it,’ it’s almost like I want to just stage it. And film it.”

“I got to a point where I understood the scope and movement and the history of what I wanted the film to address, because it’s very simple geography,” he adds. His wife/fellow producer Emma Thomas wasn’t keen on the idea, however: “Emma looked at me like I was a bit crazy and was like, okay, that’s not really gonna work.” He then wrote the 76-page script on his own “very, very quickly,” an effort presumably made easier by the fact that most of Tom Hardy’s dialogue is unintelligible anyway.

“Dunkirk” has been noted by many moviegoers as being especially loud, prompting some to complain about the sound mix. That hasn’t stopped the film from receiving critical acclaim and two consecutive weekends atop the box office, however.

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