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After spending the last several years focusing on fantastical films like Interstellar and the Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan is now getting ready for another epic story, which is a bit more grounded in reality. The director’s next project, Dunkirk, will focus on the titular French city, which was the location for a major British military evacuation during World War II. While some of the cast contains names that we might expect, the most recent reports indicate that Nolan has gone looking in an intriguing place for one of his stars: British pop music.
Boy band One Direction might not be the first place you’d go looking for an actor for your World War II period piece, but according to Variety, that’s exactly what Christopher Nolan has done. Band member Harry Styles is reportedly on board for a starring role in the film, along with newcomer Fionn Whitehead. Details regarding the roles themselves are unknown but, as The Wrap says, that the film will contain, "two young leads" and Whitehead is reportedly one. This would seem to imply that the pop singer is the other.
While many of the film’s roles are expected to be played by unknowns, and Harry Styles is an unknown in the film world as this will be his first feature film, the movie will have some star power as well. Kenneth Branagh is attached for a role along with frequent Christopher Nolan collaborator Tom Hardy, and recent Academy Award winner Mark Rylance. The newcomer will have some serious talent to learn from in Dunkirk, that’s for certain.
While the subject matter will be something of a change for Christopher Nolan, the filmmaking process likely will not be. Dunkirk is planned to be filmed using a combination IMAX 65mm and other large format 65mm film. Nolan is one of Hollywood's big proponents of using actual film, rather digital cameras. While many directors who prefer film tend to go with standard 35mm or even older formats, Nolan has embraced newer technologies to some extent, as he seems to like the more modern large format options.
Seeing the evacuation of Dunkirk on an IMAX screen certainly has the potential to be quite an epic. Seeing how well these first time actors can perform could be just as big. We’ll see if the One Direction star can act when Dunkirk arrives in theaters next year.