New Video Shows How Sam Mendes, Roger Deakins Shot '1917' to Appear as One Continuous Take

Universal released a behind-the-scenes video on the making of Sam Mendes’ upcoming WWI drama 1917, which provides the first look at the way it was uniquely lensed to appear as one continuous take to create a real-time experience.

In the story two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) 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. 

Filming largely on location in England, Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins created long takes with camera movement, choreographed to appear as one continuous take for an immersive, real-time experience. Respected director of photography Deakins — who won an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 and was nominated an additional 13 times — previously worked with Mendes on Skyfall, Revolutionary Road and Jarhead.

The filmmaking team also includes editor Lee Smith, who won an Oscar for Dunkirk and previously edited Mendes’ Spectre; and production designer Dennis Gassner, an Academy Award winner for Bugsy who collaborated with Mendes on numerous films including Road to Perdition, Jarhead and Spectre.

With a screenplay by Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917 also stars Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch. It opens in limited release Dec. 25 and wide Jan. 10.