Mark Strong felt daunted joining the production of Sam Mendes’s war movie 1917 halfway through because he had to be up to speed immediately.
The new war film, which follows two young soldiers as they cross dangerous enemy territory to deliver a warning that could save 1,600 lives, is presented to the audience in a single long take, although it was actually filmed in chronological order in multiple lengthy takes which are seamlessly stitched together.
Because of the unique nature of the shoot, Strong, whose character Captain Smith encounters the men on their journey, was only required to join the production more than halfway through and he was able to leave again once he’d nailed his scene.
“Coming into it, it’s quite daunting because you only have a couple of days,” he explained during a press conference in London. “Because of the way it was shot, unlike the traditional method, you’re literally just playing your sequence in one, and once it was done, it was over, so there wasn’t a lot of days involved, it was just a very quick in and out so you had to be right up to speed. You had to do that difficult thing that all actors find coming into a shoot halfway through or a third of the way through, you just have to get on the same page as everyone else, but it was an amazing experience and I enjoyed inventing a character.”
The Kingsman: The Secret Service actor also explained that he asked the costume department if his character could use a walking stick because he saw a lot of the officers using them in a wall of real-life war photographs the cast and crew had been using for reference. As no other character had been given one, the walking stick became his “thing”.
1917 hits cinemas from 10 January.
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