Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) has decided on his next project. He will direct and co-write the World War I film 1917 for Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Pictures, with Universal distributing.
Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but Spielberg describes the project as “hugely daring” and “ambitious”. The film reportedly started a bidding war with Paramount, Sony and New Regency all in the mix before Amblin came out on top. One has to think that the huge success of Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk had something to do with multiple studios suddenly interested in a war epic.
With Amblin winning the rights, this will actually mark somewhat of a reunion for Mendes and Spielberg, as it was the latter who vouched for Mendes (a then-unknown) during the production of American Beauty, which was produced by Spielberg’s Dreamworks. The film went on to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor.
Although details regarding the film are currently under wraps, 1917 was a key year during WWI. The United States declared war on Germany in April, before London suffered the first major bombing raid in June.
The film will also mark Mendes’ official screenwriting debut, penning the script alongside Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful). The director had signed on to direct Disney’s live-action Pinocchio movie last year, but dropped out of the project in November, possibly directly because of 1917.
Production on the film will begin in April 2019 with a planned December 2019 release, which is a relatively tight window and could again signal a similarly contained story to Nolan’s film. We’ll look out for more details as they emerge.