Sam Mendes Filmed “1917” to Look Like One Single Shot

Sam Mendes. Photo by Maja Smiejkowska/Shutterstock (9582125do)

1917 director Sam Mendes told the audience at the film’s preview Thursday at New York Comic Con that the World War I drama was “the most exciting job of my career.”

Mendes was joined by Roger Deakins, co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, producer Pippa Harris, and co-stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman on stage and he shared his most important creative decision regarding the film — to film the entire thing in one unbroken shot. 

The movie follows two young British soldiers, played by MacKay and Chapmen, who are tasked with delivering a message that will save the lives of countless men.

“It’s across this landscape that the two young men are sent to preserve the lives of 1,600 men who are to be sent to attack the Hindenberg line,” Mendes e explained. “The movie takes place in just two hours and in one unbroken shot.”

“It was so exhilarating and exciting when it worked that it kept you going for days at a time,” said Mendes. But that also meant that the actors had to undergo intense preparation.

“We rehearsed this movie more than I’ve ever rehearsed any movie,” Mendes said. “You can’t jump through space and time. You have to measure the set to match the dialogue, and you have measure the distances.”

1917 hits theaters this December.