Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk recruits a new lead


by Phil de Semlyen |
Published on

UPDATE: The weekend has brought additional casting news, with word that One Directon's Harry Styles has now won a role{ =nofollow}, and will make his acting debut with the film. Quite what he will be playing remains to be seen, but chances are this will be the first time many of his fans have wanted to watch a film about World War II. Also signing on are '71's Jack Lowden and War & Peace's Aneurin Barnard, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

We know what Christopher Nolan’s doing next – a World War II movie called Dunkirk – and we know when it’s out – July 21, 2017. Now, thanks to The Wrap’s scoop, we know who’ll be playing one of the lead roles. Newcomer Fionn Whitehead, a young British actor, is reported to be Nolan’s first choice for one of the two main roles.

While Whitehead is still to put pen to paper, sources indicate that he’s Nolan’s choice for the role of, presumably, a British army Tommy stationed in France. To date his CV only includes ITV three-parter Him and time at London’s National Youth Theatre, so it’d be a mighty leap forward for the actor.

The project, which reunites Nolan with his studio partner Warner Bros. and his producing partner Emma Thomas, tackles a British military disaster that became an unlikely half-triumph: the Dunkirk evacuation of 1940. Known as Operation Dynamo, it involved rescuing 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of northern France using an armada of small civilian boats and navy vessels, all while Stukas dive-bombed and Nazi tanks sat just over the horizon.

Joe Wright’s Atonement visualised it as a bleak carnival in its grandstand tracking shot. It’ll be fascinating to see how the equally visual Nolan represents it when he brings his 65mm large-format cameras to bear this May.

If Whitehead is cast, he’ll join Brit acting luminaries Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance on the sands of Dunkirk.

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