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'Heroism and Self-Sacrifice' on Cinematic Display in WWII Epic 'Dunkirk'

'Heroism and Self-Sacrifice' on Cinematic Display in WWII Epic 'Dunkirk' Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

You can practically see it from here.

What?

Home.

There are 400,000 men trapped in one place

on a beach, their backs to the sea,

the enemy closing in all around them.

And it's just a matter of time before they

face surrender or annihilation.

The fact that this story does not

end in either surrender or annihilation

is what makes it one of the greatest

stories in human history, and one,

which I've been wanting to tell for quite some time.

NARRATOR: "Dunkirk" is Christopher Nolan's first film

based on a true story with limited computer

generated special effects and actors

the same age as the World War II soldiers.

Nolan sets out to recreate the historic battle as

close to reality as possible.

[ARTILLERY FIRE]

The traditional thing in Hollywood movies is to cast 28,

29-year-olds, 30-year-olds, and pretend they're younger.

We wanted to cast people of the right age.

We wanted kids who would experience these events the way

people would have at the time.

It was very important for us to find interesting,

fresh faces to do that.

Knowing that this actually happened to people in real life

makes it pretty intense.

NARRATOR: The young actors, including Harry Styles

in his acting debut, talk about their experience

on set in this epic war film.

I think it was important to shoot

on location to give the film perspective

and to give us perspective.

I wasn't on the beach with the boys,

but that must have been amazing.

I was coming out onto the beach,

and there was 1,300 extras all dressed in battle gear.

There was Spitfires flying overhead, destroyers

in the background, the beach was set dressed,

sandbags, and trucks, and everything,

and there was explosions going off inside.

[ARTILLERY FIRE]

And it was just so real.

You can never really put yourself there.

But that is I think the closest you

can come to putting yourself in that situation,

and the pure panic and terror.

You're so vulnerable, from every aspect

as well, sitting ducks on the beach,

sitting ducks on the water, sitting ducks in the air.

You're just so exposed.

You've got nothing to shield you.

It's not, pretend there's an explosion happening over here.

It's actually going on.

And then I think you know that just means you

get natural reactions to stuff.

Yeah, any reactions you have are just a response

to what's going on around you.

It's just honest.

I never actually felt like I was

thinking about acting because everything was there for you.

There was no acting required in many situations

with everything that is flying around your head or exploding.

And then you get this bloody Spitfire

going across your head.

And you're like, oh, OK.

We're jack.

Yeah, don't mention it.

Don't worry.

Any day.

He's on me.

I was up in the air over the channel with the Spitfires.

They strapped the IMAX to the wing

of the plane I was in and flew over,

sweeping over the channel with a massive IMAX

camera on the wing.

The thing with the IMAX is just so epic.

And I think that's with Chris's films, he does that so well.

He captures that huge, vast picture,

which just sucks you in.

It's like a black hole.

I just pulls you in.

You wouldn't be doing this story justice if you showed it

on anything else.

What was your favorite thing about working with Chris?

It's funny you ask that finally.

He leads by example so much.

He's the first one, the last one to leave.

Very present.

Yeah, very hands on.

Yeah.

I was always told about if you were to have a day of film

that you'd hear the director shouting

the directions from about three miles away in a tent.

But Chris is there the whole time.

You'd see the camera there and Chris there.

Literally right beside it, the little monitor.

Yeah.

These huge sets, and these real Spitfires, and war ships

all around you, and all the rest of it, thousands of extras.

The ship's about to leave.

The scale of this was absolutely massive.

The general public are in for an epic suspense thriller

based within the framework of historical background.

We're going to watch a super intense movie.

Which doesn't give the audience time to think.

You just plunge straight into this world,

and you're just swept along it.

And you're just taken with you, see this world

through their eyes and ears.

And that story really needs to be told.

It's a film of survival panic.

It's breathless.

I think it's going to be bloody brilliant.

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