EXCLUSIVE: British actors Jack Lowden and Aneurin Barnard are in talks for major roles in Christopher Nolan’s World War II action adventure Dunkirk. Lowden is believed to be up for one of the two leading roles in the pic, with newcomer Fionn Whitehead up for the other lead role, while Barnard’s part is also believed to be significant. Details of the exact nature of the roles are being closely guarded as is often the way with a Nolan project. What we do know is the project will deal with the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk which took place from May-June 1940.
Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy will be part of an ensemble made up largely of unknowns. Nolan, his co-producer and partner Emma Thomas, oversaw an extensive casting process for the film, with virtually every young British and Irish actor putting themselves on tape for this. Nolan was known to be looking for unknowns for the major roles, thereby giving scores of young thesps the hope of a once-in-a-lifetime big break to nab a major role with a visionary filmmaker.
Pic will be shot on Imax 65mm and 65mm large-format film. Dubbed Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk was a British military operation that saved some 330,000 Allied soldiers trapped in the harbor and surrounded by the German army. Winston Churchill described it as “a miracle of deliverance.”
Lowden is one of the most exciting young actors in the UK right now. He has won plaudits for his performance in BBC-Weinstein Co co-production War And Peace. He also plays iconic left-wing politician Tony Benn in Amma Asante’s much-buzzed about A United Kingdom, starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo. He also stars opposite Rachel Weisz, Andrew Scott and Timothy Spall in Mick Jackson’s Denial. He is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA.
Barnard impressed with his portrayal of King Richard in the BBC-Starz miniseries The White Queen. He is repped by The Artists Partnership.
Warner Bros has dated the film for July 21, 2017. The studio declined to comment when contacted by Deadline.