Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy discuss filming war films at ''Dunkirk' premiere in New York.
NATURAL ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) For the filmmaker who re-imagined Batman as "The Dark Knight" and explored deep space in "Interstellar," the story of British troops trapped on a French beach during World War Two may seem like an unlikely draw. But the events of May 1940 that Christopher Nolan explores in "Dunkirk" is a "very suspenseful, thrilling tale that isn't necessarily one that fits in exactly and neatly into films that you've seen before," the British director told Reuters. "Dunkirk," out in theaters on Friday, recounts the evacuation by civilians and military of some 400,000 British and Allied soldiers stranded on the desolate French beach of Dunkirk, across the English Channel port of Dover. Rather than focus on the stories of individuals, like Steven Spielberg's 1998 World War Two epic "Saving Private Ryan," or Mel Gibson's 2016 film "Hacksaw Ridge," Nolan said he wanted "Dunkirk" to convey communal heroism rather than individual acts. While the film stars big names like Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance, Nolan held open casting calls to find young new faces, led by 20-year-old newcomer Fionn Whitehead as Tommy, a scrappy, traumatized soldier fighting to survive. He is joined by 23-year-old singer Harry Styles, formerly of boy band One Direction, who makes his film debut in "Dunkirk" and has received praise for his performance.