10 Fun Facts About “Dunkirk”


This weekend will be PACKED with new movies for you to enjoy, including “The Emoji Movie” and “Valerian”, but if I’m being honest, and a bit biased, there’s one movie in particular I just can’t WAIT to see and that’s “Dunkirk”. Christopher Nolan penned and directed this film and it’s gotten quite a lot of buzz, so to get you even more pumped for what’s to come I took a look at some interesting facts, as I’m known to do. Here are 10 fun facts about “Dunkirk”.

For this list, as usual, I took a look as some fun facts and trivia about the film “Dunkirk” including details about the filming of the movie, what happened behind the scenes and off the set, and details behind the cast, script and story etc. As with all my “fun fact” lists there is no real rhyme or reason to the order of these facts other than to make them more readable and fun with special attention given to more curious facts the farther down the list you go.

So enjoy the list and let me know if you’ll be seeing this war flick this weekend. I certainly will be and I’ll be posting my review after I give it a look. Enjoy the list and be sure to check out “Dunkirk” in theaters this weekend.


10. First Real-Life Nolan film


Over the years Christopher Nolan has become an iconic director for his ability to embrace gritty and realistic filmmaking to bring stories to life. However this is the first time Nolan is focusing on a real-life story based on historical events. In the past Nolan has directed completely original stories, comic book adaptations, and novel or short story adaptations but “Dunkirk” will be the first time he portrays actually events on screen. Ironically it also seems to be one of his earliest directorial projects that just took forever for him to make, but we’ll touch on that more later. It’s also the third time Christopher Nolan is credited as the sole writer on a project. He also wrote 1998’s “Following” and 2010’s “Inception” all on his own.




9. Realism Over Special Effects


Christopher Nolan has traditionally tried his best to stay away from an over dependence on CGI and the same principle applies to “Dunkirk” which uses over a thousand extras, cardboard cutouts, and real life ships and planes to present the Dunkirk story in as authentic a fashion as possible. Real naval destroyers were used for the sea battle sequences with as many as 62 ships utilized at any given time for filming. Nolan also chose to shoot the movie in a combination of 15/70mm IMAX film and Super Panavision 65mm film in order to achieve the maximum possible image quality or the movie. It’s the third modern major film to be primarily shot and shown in 70mm in theaters after “The Master” and “The Hateful Eight”.




8. Three Points of View


“Dunkirk” promises to be an interesting viewing experience based on the approach to storytelling alone. The film is told from three points of view: on the beach, the evacuation by the navy, and in the air. This is called a “triptych” plot structure and will be used to tackle all angles of the Dunkirk battle and evacuation and show all sides of the conflict at once. Christopher Nolan was quote saying that this approach allowed the story to present how different individuals involved in the battle experienced the situation presenting “different versions of history”. The title itself has also bee stylized as times to match the triptych plot format incorporating two shades of blue and a shade of orange to represent air, sea, and land.




7. A Silent Film Approach


One thing that may prove to be a bit of a turnoff for some moviegoers is that “Dunkirk” supposedly involves very little dialogue. Not surprising considering that Christopher Nolan is essentially the educated man’s Michael Bay, turning out epics that make you think a little on your own to appreciate them. I apologize for that tangent, but anyway in order to effectively capture the audience without leaning to heavily on dialogue Nolan turned to silent films for inspiration. Nolan explored how silent films influence crowd scenes using details to add to the story in small ways. To that end Nolan wanted to present a story that was mostly substance without too much exposition, although there will be speaking in the film to drive home some of the more powerful themes of the movie.




6. A Long Time Coming


Believe it or not Christopher Nolan has sat on this film idea for a while and did so using a great deal of self-control. Nolan reportedly first got the idea for the film in 1992 when sailing to Dunkirk with his then-girlfriend, now wife, Emma. Nolan decided not to pursue the project too early and instead held the idea for when he was a more experienced director as he was afraid to do the film without having a few directorial works in his pocket. Once he was done with “The Dark Knight”, “Inception”, and “Interstellar” (shown above) he had the blockbusters, and self confidence, he needed to go forward with “Dunkirk” and bring the battle to life on the big screen.




5. Tom Hardy’s War history


For the third time one of the modern greats, Tom Hardy, will be in Christopher Nolan’s film as a battle pilot in “Dunkirk”. It’s not the first time Hardy has dabbled in World War II or war in general on the big screen. This will be Hardy’s third World War II project having played roles in “Band of Brothers” and “Colditz” in the past. Hardy also played in the 2001 war film “Black Hawk Down”. As strange as it might be to say, this will be Hardy’s first film role of 2017 and the first time he will be seen on the big screen since the early release of “The Revenant” in 2015.




4. No American Actors


Considering that no American troops were involved in the Dunkirk battle and evacuation, Christopher Nolan’s strive for authenticity bled into the casting as well with no American born actors being involved in the film, at least in the major cast. Irish, Scottish, and English actors make up the entirety of the major players in this story as “Dunkirk” occurs in 1940, before the U.S. involvement in World War II. Nolan was adamant about using a British cast and while it has not been confirmed, it has been rumored that even one of his favorite long-time collaborators, Michael Caine, will make a voice cameo in the film. Caine, of course, is English.




3. Harry Styles First Real Film


Possibly THE most popular of the singers from One Direction, this will be the first film role for Harry Styles who plays British Army private Alex on the beach of Dunkirk. Styles was chosen from hundreds of possible candidates and Nolan admitted he was ignorant to Styles already established fame upon the casting. When asked why he cast Harry Styles in the film, Christopher Nolan said “he had it.” The casting has been seen as a bit controversial, with some calling it a pandering move while others doubt Styles acting ability. However it’s not the first time Nolan has made a bold casting choice. Nolan himself compared the casting of Styles to his decision to cast Ledger as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” which was also met with questionable fan response but proved to be one of the most legendary comic book film performances ever. Nolan says he saw potential then and he sees it now with Styles.




2. A Three-Dimensional One-Dimensional Film


We’ve already talked a lot about what Nolan wanted to have in the film, but there’s one approach he took that will keep certain aspects of the battle, particularly the opposition, out of the spotlight. Nolan approached “Dunkirk” as if he was making a documentary-style film and wanted to use this movie to challenge the Hollywood formula considering the Battle of Dunkirk was a loss for the eventual winning side in World War II. Nolan made a conscious decision to make the film a bit more one-dimensional, focusing on the victims rather than the opposition and avoiding showing Germans on screen. Other omissions were Winston Churchill and any scenes in a war room as Nolan wanted to avoid the politics of war and focus more on portraying the realism of what occurred during the battle. He said the film was meant to encompass a “snowball effect” that shows the progression of an event from the perspective of a single side of the war, but split into three different part to show even more perspectives at the same time. Cool right?




1. Not the First Dunkirk Film


While not a remake, “Dunkirk” is not the first film to focus on the real life events of 1940. In fact it’s only the second. “Dunkirk” is also the name of a 1958 British war film directed by Leslie Norman and starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Bernard Lee that was the first film to focus on the events of the Dunkirk battle and evacuation. That film was based on two different works chronicling the events of the evacuation, “The Big Pick-Up” and “Dunkirk”. The film was the second most popular production at the British box office that year but didn’t fair so well in North America. This new “Dunkirk” film actually has somewhat of a throwback to the first movie hidden in its cast. Will Attenborough has a small part in the film and is the grandson of Richard Attenborough who starred in the 1958 movie. The first film was considered a logistics nightmare at the time. With new technology and a top-notch director at the helm, the 2017 film should be able to build on its predecessor’s legacy nicely with a more modern take on the events of the evacuation.


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