‘1917’ Behind the Scenes Video: Sam Mendes’ WWI Epic Will Seem Like One Long Shot

Universal Pictures

We were already very enticed with the idea of Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Skyfall) directing an epic war film with master cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men, Blade Runner 2049) behind the lens, and now we’re getting downright excited.

“From the very beginning I felt this movie should be told in real time,” Mendes says in new behind-the-scenes featurette that Universal has released. “Every step of the journey, breathing every breath with these men felt integral. And there is no better way to tell this story than with one continuous shot.”

That’s right, upcoming war film 1917 will appear like one epic shot. That’s no easy feat, as the video below provides a taste of. Long sequences have the camera being passed from crane, to camera man, to vehicle as we follow our lead characters. And then there’s the weather. The plot follows two young soldiers (played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) that are ordered to head behind enemy lines to deliver an important message.


“There’s always that get-out-of-jail card you have with a movie — ‘Well, you know, you might be able to cut around this, or we might take that scene out,’ ” says Mendes. “That’s not possible on this film.”

Can’t wait to see what’s in store here. 1917, also starring Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch, arrives in Australian cinemas on January 16, 2020. In the US, the film will have a limited theatrical run beginning on Christmas before getting a wide release on January 10, 2020.

In case you haven’t seen the first trailer, or want to see it again, head HERE.

Official synopsis for 1917:

Sam Mendes, the Oscar®-winning director of Skyfall, Spectre and American Beauty, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic, 1917.

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.

1917 is directed by Sam Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). The film is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (co-executive producer, Revolutionary Road; executive producer, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (co-producer, The Rhythm Section; associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (executive producer, Rocketman; Black Swan).

The film is produced by Neal Street Productions for DreamWorks Pictures in association with New Republic Pictures.

Universal Pictures

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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.