1917 is a film which amazed fans and awards bosses, with its incredible shooting style and gorgeous cinematography. It won big at the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes, reminding fans why we should remember those who sacrificed themselves for us in the First World War. One of its stars has now spoken out on why Andrew Scott, the star of Fleabag, made the film full of ‘pathos’ in crucial moments.
In an exclusive clip shared with Express.co.uk from the 1917 DVD extras, which is out now, actor George Mackay shared his view on some of his major co-stars, which includes Fleabag star, Andrew Scott.
Speaking of working with Scott, Mackay said: “He’s electric, it was amazing. Just watching him and trying to keep up with him.
“Andrew brought this real pathos to moment of saying goodbye.”
Scott, who played Lieutenant Lesley in the film, is the last face they see in an army uniform before the two lead characters of the film go on a terrifying journey to deliver an important message to troops on the frontline.
Mackay also spoke of his co-star Colin Firth, who plays General Erinmore, who also brings a sense of gravitas to the film, along with other British acting royalty Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong.
Mackay said: “It was amazing the sort of intensity he [Firth] brought to the set. There was this sort of precision as well.”
The other leading actor, Dean-Charles Chapman, added: “Colin Firth has done an amazing job. I’ve learnt so much from him.”
The cast of the film, which includes magnificent turns from British stars, is a “dream,” as expressed by producer and BAFTA head Pippa Harris.
Speaking in the clip, she said: “They [Chapman and Mackay, the film’s stars] are really anchoring the film, the two of them.
“And then at various points in the narrative they meet other characters: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden.
“It reads like an all-star Best of British line up – the kind of cast you would dream of getting in your film then would never be able to get.”
Of course, the team behind 1917 managed to get that cast, perhaps because James Bond director Sam Mendes was at the helm.
Despite Mackay speaking of Scott’s ‘pathos,’ it turns out, according to Mendes, he was not quite as on the ball in his performance thanks to ‘lighter-gate,’ when a faulty prop went completely wrong.
Mendes joked to the BBC, with Scott by his side: “Andrew, in his only scene, made more mistakes than anyone else,” the director affectionately jokes, referring to Fleabag star Andrew Scott, who was required to light a cigarette during his brief appearance in the film.
Scott quickly quipped: “Never smoke, ever. On anything – on stage, on screen – never use a cigarette lighter.”
Sir Sam expands: “You can have seven minutes of magic, and then if someone trips or a lighter doesn’t work, or if an actor forgets half a line, it means none of it is useable and you have to start again.”
“You have to work alongside the camera team and the extras but the great challenge of it is you don’t want to mess it up because you’re only in it for five minutes, you don’t want to be that guy.”
Mendes added: “There were days where we did see-saw between thinking ‘why are we doing this to ourselves’, and thinking ‘this is the only way to work.’
“The feeling when you got it was so great, that you wanted to do it again. But there were some tough days.”
Pippa Harris, the producer of the film, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about why this film is so poignant, especially as it falls so close to VE Day.
Speaking of the film’s influence, she said: “It is a war movie but it’s actually about so many other things than that thematically.
“It’s about the importance of home, about the importance of camaraderie, about the desire to serve others which I think is quite an old fashioned concept but has really resonated with people.
“I think they find it incredibly moving, remembering that these young men went off and in many cases sacrificed their lives for something greater than themselves, so I think that’s really connected with audiences around the world.”
“I think it’s although we’re not at war ourselves at the moment there are any number conflicts going on around the world so war and the idea of conflict is never far from people’s minds.
“But I think beyond that people also were initially drawn to the film because it felt it was a cinematic experience and something they needed to go to a cinema to properly enjoy.
“It was a combination with that and the press surrounding the way it’s been shot, but also the fact that it got lots of awards recognition for visual effects and sound…
“Audiences these days are very sophisticated and they can tell when they think they can maybe wait and see at home on the TV or they need to go out and see on the biggest possible screen with the best possible sound.”
Now cinemas are closed, however, those at home will be able to enjoy the movie on DVD or on digital download, but it may be best to seek out the biggest possible screen.
1917 is available on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray now