Sam Mendes is returning to the war genre for the first time since 2005’s “Jarhead” with the upcoming Universal Pictures drama “1917.” The World War I drama marks the filmmaker’s first directorial effort since leaving the James Bond franchise behind. Mendes directed Daniel Craig in the Oscar-winning “Skyfall” and its less well-received sequel “Spectre,” and the first “1917” trailer suggests he’s operating in a similarly epic scope while taking on WWI.
“1917” stars George MacKay and “Game of Thrones” breakout Dean-Charles Chapman as two young British soldiers who are given a mission to cross into enemy territory in order to deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers, including the brother of Chapman’s character. The supporting cast includes U.K. acting heavyweights Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, and Andrew Scott.
“1917” is shot by the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. The WWI drama will be the second Deakins release of the fall movie season after “The Goldfinch.” Both films are the cinematographer’s first projects since winning the Oscar for shooting Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049.” Mendes and Deakins have worked on three movies together: “Jarhead,” “Revolutionary Road,” and “Skyfall.” Deakins was Oscar nominated for “Skyfall.”
Another member of the film’s crafts team that should excite moviegoers is editor Lee Smith. “1917” has an intense ticking-clock narrative structure that recalls Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” which won Lee the Oscar for Best Film Editing. Lee’s career has been defined by his collaborations with Nolan, which also include “Batman Begins,” “The Prestige,” “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Interstellar.” Bringing both Lee and Deakins back to the war genre will no doubt put “1917” on many Oscar prognosticators’ must-watch lists.
Universal Pictures will release “1917” in select theaters December 25. A nationwide expansion is planned for January 10, 2020. Watch the first official trailer below.