Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes on the making of '1917' originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Could Sam Mendes' World War I film shake up the Oscars race? We are just days away from the Oscar nominations. And there's big buzz around "1917," fresh off of three big Golden Globe wins. The film follows the story of two British soldiers during World War I who are sent on a mission to carry a message into enemy territory. Mendes talked to ABC News about his inspirations for the film.
"There was a personal inspiration which is my grandfather fought in the First World War," Mendes said in an appearance on "Popcorn with Peter Travers." "The movie is dedicated to him. He was 17 years old. He was 17 years old when he when he enlisted," Mendes said."But he never spoke about his experiences to his own children. It took 50 or 60 years before he was ready to talk about it. And in his late 70s, he decided to tell the stories to us, to his grandchildren. And so I suppose they were formative experiences being told those stories."
Mendes said that he was also inspired by his own past to take a different approach to filmmaking, after directing two "James Bond" films.
"I'd found myself after the 'Bond' movies, kind of trapped in this multiple plot, multiple camera, plates spinning exercise that is making a giant franchise movie. And so some of it was a reaction against that, towards single camera, real time, very linear storytelling following just one figure rather than multiple characters," he said.
Download the all new "Popcorn With Peter Travers" podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tunein, Google Play Music and Stitcher.
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Moviegoers may be stunned to see how the action plays out on screen. The film was shot to look like one continuous take, which was no easy task.
"The tricky stuff was rehearsals because we had to measure every step of the journey before we built the sets, before we constructed the landscape that they walk on," Mendes said. "So we started this process with them (actors) with scripts in their hands on empty fields, walking and planting flags and the ground floor where the trenches would be, where no man's land would be. And then getting into specifics, they turn left here, they turn right there, they stop here. There's a crater there, there's a trench there. And then you had to do that for every single step of the journey for quarries and farmhouses and canals and towns at night. And only then could you start constructing the set. So everything was built around the actors, everything was built around the narrative."
"1917" is in theaters everywhere.
Be sure to watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Sam Mendes in the video above.
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