The Crazy, Expensive Sequence Christopher Nolan May Be Creating For Dunkirk

Having concluded his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises and taken astronauts to another galaxy in Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s next directorial, feature-length project is winding the clock back to World War II for Dunkirk. The drama has been shooting since late last month, and since this is Nolan at the helm, most of us expect big things from the movie. However, what comes as a surprise is that Nolan might not be sparing the dollars to pull off a stunt with a real World War II plane that will end in fiery glory.

According to a source who spoke with Indie Revolver, Warner Bros spent $5 million to purchase a vintage World War II aircraft (the report mention it might be a German Luftwaffe) for Dunkirk that will be equipped with IMAX cameras. Once the production gets some dazzling aerial sequences from it, the plane will be crashed. We’re not talking about a "fake crash," it will actually be sent diving to the ground. In case you’re thinking that $5 million is a lot to pay for a magnificent movie crash, apparently Warner Bros is confident that Dunkirk will perform similarly to how Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception did, i.e. draw hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, so they'll recover that large expense.

There are two sides of this rumored development to take into account. On the one hand, Christopher Nolan has always preferred practical effects over digital/CGI, so working off his mindset, it makes sense to secure an actual World War II plane for whatever shots he needs rather than create a fake spectacle in post-production. This guarantees that the aerial shots the plane is capturing and the crash afterwards will look completely real rather than just "kind of" real. All this being said, destroying a World War II aircraft seems excessive for simply shooting a few Dunkirk sequences. It’s not like we can just go back in time to retrieve another one of these planes with ease. While constructing an exact replica of this plane would unquestionably also be a costly endeavor, at least it would preserve the historical significance of the real aircraft, and may even be cheaper than the $5 million that the studio supposedly dropped.

As the title suggests, Dunkirk will tell the true story of the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II, which saw hundreds of thousands Belgian, British and French soldiers rescued after they were cut off by German troops. The movie’s cast includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy and Aneurin Barnard, though none of their character names have been disclosed yet. In addition to production in Dunkirk, France, other scenes will be shot in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Los Angeles.

Dunkirk will be released in theaters on July 21, 2017.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.