Ahead of this weekend’s panel at New York Comic Con for Universal’s Sam Mendes-directed World War I epic 1917, the studio released a featurette Monday detailing the filmmakers’ behind-the-scenes battle to shoot the pic in one, continuous shot.
The idea is to show the journey of two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who are given a seemingly impossible mission: In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.
“There’s always that get-out-of-jail card you have with a movie — ‘Well, you know, you might be able to cut around this, or we might take that scene out,’ ” Medes says in the video, which also features riveting footage of the pic shot by his Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, his collaborator on the likes of Skyfall, Jarhead and Revolutionary Road. “That’s not possible on this film.”
Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch also star in the film, which Universal will release domestically in limited release on Christmas Day before taking it wide January 10.
Mendes directed and wrote the screenplay with Wilson-Cairns, and he also produced with Pippa Harris via their Neal Street Productions along with Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall and Brian Oliver.
For New York Comic Con, Mendes, MacKay, Chapman, Wilson-Cairns, Harris and Deakins will appear on a panel Thursday at the AMC 34th St. Theater at 4 PM ET.
In the meantime, check out the video above.