If you’ve got a British period piece and you want to be taken seriously as an award contender then there’s no better way to do it than grab Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth to raise the film’s profile. That’s exactly what Sam Mendes’ WWI film, 1917, has gone out and done, adding to an already stellar British cast two more massive names.
The film, which Universal is setting up for Oscar nominations with a limited Dec. 25 release later this year, will follow the lives of two soldiers during one day of the conflict. Think Dunkirk, but probably with less scope and more style and beauty given Mendes as the director. George MacKay and Dean-Charles Cahapman will play the two soldiers, but it isn’t clear who Cumberbatch and Firth will play, but I’m going wager its some higher ranking folks. With production starting now we probably won’t have to wait too long to find out.
I’m excited to see what Mendes will do with his first outing after leaving Bond. He wrote the screenplay for this one so he’s clearly got a vision, and when you let Mendes loose he can come back with some of the most visually compelling cinema you’ll ever see. Shots from Road to Perdition still stick in my mind to this day.