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The Pre-Production
Steps of the Journey
Departments Work As One
Mendes would not have been able to consider shooting a movie in such an unusually daring way without the steadfast support of his core group of collaborators, many of whom he had known for decades. As a great number of the crew had worked together previously, there was an easy camaraderie and shorthand. This symbiosis would prove beneficial, as all departments needed to be fully prepared before stepping onto the sets. In fact, 1917's intense rehearsal process was quite similar to the preparation of a piece of theater.

Producer Jayne-Ann Tenggren has worked with Mendes for more than 18 years, and 1917 marks the third time that producer Callum McDougall and co-producer MICHAEL LERMAN (Spectre) have collaborated with him. For cinematographer Roger Deakins, this is his fourth outing with the director, while 1917 marks production designer Dennis Gassner's fifth Mendes collaboration.

Makeup and hair designer Naomi Donne, production sound mixer Stuart Wilson, supervising location manager Emma Pill, stunt coordinator Benjamin Cooke and editor Lee Smith have all worked with the director before, and composer Thomas Newman has created the scores for six prior Mendes films.

Joining Mendes for the first time are costume designers Jacqueline Durran and David Crossman, casting director Nina Gold, VFX supervisor GUILLAUME ROCHERON (Life of Pi) as well as set decorator Lee Sandales, prosthetic designer Tristan Versluis and SFX supervisor Dominic Tuohy.

Mendes reflects that what made 1917 differ from any other movie he has made is the way in which his entire team constructed it. Mendes says, "It was such a unity. The collaboration between heads of department and my main collaborators was daily, and started much earlier in the process than ever before. We rehearsed for seven or eight weeks on and off location. Everyone was involved and continued to be involved throughout the shoot. That's very moving when you see such great artists at work, all as equals, with immense mutual respect, and very little hierarchy."

Rehearsing World War I
Although all films require preparation, the prep period for 1917 was even more important than on conventionally shot films. In fact, it was paramount. The technical demands of how the epic would be shot meant that every step of the journey had to be timed precisely during rehearsals.

Mendes admits that the challenges of prepping were the challenges of getting ready for a normal movie...times five. "You have all the things you normally have to do," Mendes says, "but here we simply had to work in much more detail. For example, we had to measure every step of the journey. It's fine to write, 'They walk through a copse of trees down a hillside, through an orchard, around a pond, and into a farmhouse,' but the scene had to be the exact length of the land. And the land could not be longer than the scene! We had to rehearse every step of the journey, every line of dialogue on location."

The level of detail called for Mendes, MacKay, Chapman, Deakins, Gassner, supporting cast, key creatives and team members to rehearse not just on location, but on a huge soundstage at Shepperton Studios. There, they marked out on the floor the dimensions of the sets for each scene. Every step of the journey was rehearsed in this space. "We were in this massive room, the rehearsal room, with all these cardboard boxes stacked up around us to sort of map out the set shape," Chapman says. "Sam already knew exactly how the blocking should look, but sometimes we'd come across something that didn't sync right or didn't look right. When that happened, Sam would just stand there, he'd close his eyes, think about it, and then just solve it. I've never seen anything like that. His ability to do that was amazing."

Next, they went out on location for tech rehearsals. "This world had to be crafted around the rhythm of the script," Mendes says. "You can't just jump 100 yards in a cut. If your location is 100 yards too long, you're not going to have the scene that lasts the journey; the two things are obviously interlinked. That made the prep much more complicated than normal. In many ways, it was more fun, because we had to do it very early and walk the land, and physically feel the reality of their journey. Then, we had to discuss and test the camera movement and positioning for every moment of every scene, long before we shot it."

As well as storyboards, a schematic document of diagrams was created to accompany the script. This mapped out where each character was moving at any given time, as well as exactly where the camera would be during any given scene-and in which direction it would be pointing.

By the time prep was finished, producer McDougall was confident that his team was more than up to dealing with the myriad complexities of the shoot. "When you have a film as well-prepped as we were-and with the expertise of the people we've engaged-with our locations, production team, special effects and other departments, we knew that whatever would be thrown that we were able to handle," McDougall says.

During prep, Deakins and his crew were working on the camera moves and how they would be able to complete a shot without cutting-all while constantly moving. At times, the camera would need to seamlessly interchange-using a variety of rigs during a take, which could involve a Steadicam operator, followed by a wire cam and back to the operator on foot or on a vehicle.

One of the biggest challenges of production was that they were unable to employ long-familiar tools. "We're used to having coverage and cuts and camera placement to tell a story," Mendes says. "We can normally change the pace in editing. We can tweak performances, timing, rhythm, dialogue. That is the language of film. You can cut to a wide shot to establish geography for example, or you cut to a close up and push in to feel connected to a character. We didn't get to play with any of those tools with 1917, yet we still had to do all of those things."

Getting Soldier Ready
Ex-paratrooper Paul Biddiss (Jason Bourne), the film's military technical advisor-who served in the British Army for decades-put the main players through their paces. To get them into the mindset of a soldier, he began their training with extensive marching. Biddiss explained that once his men were in a uniform, there were rules about what was expected of them. They were also taught the importance of looking out for fellow soldiers, as well as bonding and friendship.

In Bovingdon, prior to the start of shoot, there was a boot camp to prepare the actors for the scenes filmed there. As these were more sedentary, the purpose of the camp was to learn primarily about trench life. The follow-up Salisbury boot camp required more detail about tactics and aggression, as the crowd selected for this trench-run scene was required to be more physically robust.

"Contrary to popular belief, the soldiers of World War I didn't just get out of a trench and run like a bunch of banshees towards the enemy," Biddiss says. "They had section objectives. We needed to teach our performers how to move in sections, under their section commanders, as well as how the Lewis gunners and the Vickers gunners would operate to cover arcs."

The main cast and crowd were taught weapons handling and safety, plus how to wear their webbing-how it is fitted, and from the rounds and the masks to the water pouches...what equipment goes where. Biddiss also made a point to emphasize with the importance of foot care with the principal cast. "It was the first lesson I taught them," Biddiss says. The main cast, like actual World War I soldiers, were not used to working in military boots, so the lessons helped them avoid blisters from all the leg work required of them each day.

George MacKay found all of it invaluable. "Every time we'd do those rehearsals Dean and I would put on the boots and the webbing, and work on just really simple things like taking ammunition out of a pocket," MacKay says. "The first time we did it, we were all fingers and thumbs. Or we'd kneel, and all of our ammunition would fall out. We were just really green in the beginning, but little by little, day after day, it becomes second nature."

The production also engaged the expertise of military historian ANDREW ROBERTSHAW (War Horse), a former Military of Defense civil servant who spent many years excavating trenches and mine craters in France and Belgium.

Robertshaw and Biddiss worked closely with JOSS SKOTTOWE (Spectre), ex-military supervising armorer, and stunt coordinator Benjamin Cooke with the main cast and crowd. The roles complemented one another-from explaining the intricacies of the war, to the requisite soldier behavior, through how to load, fire and reload weapons and apply dressings, in addition to how to approach the reality of going over the top and all it might entail...

Margins for Error
Fulfilling Mendes' Mission
Implementing Mendes' painstaking plans meant ensuring a viable frequency range was maintained to get the video and sound back to the director on his monitor. As mentioned earlier, Deakins was often stationed with the focus puller and DIT in a small white van, remotely operating the camera even if it was being carried, frequently operating the camera remotely across huge distances.

During takes, Mendes was in a customized "horse box" with co-producer/first assistant director Michael Lerman and script supervisor NICOLETTA MANI (Mission: Impossible-Fallout). Producers Harris and Tenggren, along with writer Wilson-Cairns and video operator JOHN 'JB' BOWMAN (Skyfall) were alongside the director in another small trailer.

Due to the nature of the 360-degree shoot, those crew whom would normally be behind the camera often could not stand alongside the set. A small group of key crew would place themselves in a safe spot and all others, including the tech trucks and support, were based much further away. On occasion, it was not possible to keep everyone far enough away, which meant that, in post-production, VFX would need to paint out whatever should not be in the frame.

Directly outside Mendes' horse box was a large black rehearsal tent for playback. This allowed him to talk through the shot with the actors and Deakins, as well as other key head of departments.

It was difficult to have a normal video village set up, as well as sound and checks areas for makeup and hair, costumes and other departments. Another large tent was set up with monitors and chairs to accommodate these crew members.

The need to be in sync with the actors and the complexity of the camera movements meant there was no margin for error. Not only in prep was it vital to rehearse, but also on every single day of filming. Mendes, the actors, Deakins, the camera team and the rest of the crew would rehearse for a large part of the day-until the light was ideal and everyone was primed and ready for the take.

While that might sound a bit draconian, Mendes was quite mindful that, regardless of the planning, what he hoped for-however much he conceptualized-was that the team embraced what could happen when they were all discovering the undefinable. "If it had just gone to plan, in a way I'd be disappointed," Mendes says. "What was exciting was when it went to plan...and then something unexpected happened. As in all moviemaking, you always hope for happy accidents." Mendes says, "It could be a look, a way the light falls or something that somebody accidently says on that particular take...and it ends up in the movie. No matter how much you imagine a scene, it can never stand up to the reality of actually doing and seeing it. Part of the job was to leave myself available for moments of inspiration, accidents or unplanned changes. You get to a certain point where what you want to see is the shot you'd imagined. You get it, and then you have to sit back and say, 'Yes, we've got that now... but is it enough? Could there be other things happening we haven't conceived?' In almost every case, the answer was 'Yes.'"

Marrying Script to Mileage
Designers Lead the Charge
As the majority of Mendes and Wilson-Cairns' screenplay exists in the exteriors, and no location through which the two principal characters move repeats on screen, the enormity of the challenge in front of Oscar-winning production designer Dennis Gassner and his colleagues was obvious to all involved. With the landscapes came the inescapable and unpredictable British weather.

Because the story is linear, the weather needed to consistently match from scene to scene. While the production could control many aspects of the shoot, weather would never be one of them. Armed with a Farmer's Almanac and, Gassner examined multiple weather forecasts-from long range to daily and hourly. At the mercy of the sun, clouds, rain, sleet and snow, the indefatigable crewmembers crossed their fingers and said respective prayers every night before the next shooting day. "You've never seen a group of people so happy for bad weather," George MacKay says. "You get a bit of cloud of and everyone will be like, 'Okay, let's go!' We're going to get two shots today!'"

Gassner has known Mendes for two decades and Deakins for three and offers that their shorthand was the only way they could accomplish so much in such a period. "I needed to build the world, Roger needed to light it, and Sam needed to take us on the journey," Gassner says. "That connection among the three of us was wonderful. We all did our jobs in the best way that we were possibly able to do." The production designer extends the kudos to his fellow crew. "Everybody on the production was so engaged," Gassner says. "I've never seen a film crew that bonded together in such a strong way. It was technically really hard work. That focus kept driving us forward to see what we were going to get. We got through this because of all of our experiences...and a tremendous amount of luck."

Weather, Research and Planning
Although the weather occasionally presented challenges, for much of the shoot the cast and crew of 1917 were blessed with dry, overcast days, crucial to the matches that director of photography Deakins and editor Smith needed for scene continuity. The not-so-flexible schedule of 65 days had little weather cover inherent within. This meant Mendes' production was to be almost completely exposed to the elements...for the majority of the time that was allotted to shoot.

Due to the duration of time at the locations, planning permissions and numerous surveys were required for the building of sets. It was a massive undertaking for supervising location manager Emma Pill and her locations team.

The unpredictable weather and constant movement on location created major obstacles for the filmmakers, cast and crew, which they had to collectively overcome. No stranger to lensing in the most complex of environments-007 films are no joke-their captain had to take the elements in stride.

"Every location brings its own set of challenges," Mendes says. "Whether you are shooting on land, shooting someone being carried down a river without being able to cut-or traveling large distances through nighttime landscapes at great speed-these are all immense challenges in different ways. Even if the weather is perfect, each challenge has its own particular degree of difficulty."

Thanks to the extensive preparatory period, Gassner and his team carried out a fastidious amount of deep-dive research. Inspired by the meticulous script, his crew delved into archive material, photographs, art and other material from the era.

As drawings, concept art, plans and set models evolved, the art department found Mendes' rehearsals quite valuable. They allowed them to precisely plot out the sets before they broke ground for the actual set builds. "It was all about planning," Gassner says, "as well as the choreography, marrying the script to the mileage-to how far we were going to have to go, step by step. It was an amazing amount of work, and I have to say that I enjoyed it the whole time."

Pill and her team had the mammoth task of scouting multiple, massive-scale locations at the same time other locales were being prepped, built upon, filmed on and then struck...all over the country. "In Salisbury, we had the opening of the movie and the opening trench," Pill says. "We're then at Bovingdon, where we had the second-line trench moving into the frontline one. We also had No Man's Land, which took us into the German trenches."

When not building "underground" sets for the German dugout at Shepperton Studios-or the German tunnel set that was constructed in a Salisbury barn-Pill was dealing with an Oxfordshire location, which served as a large quarry that brings Blake and Schofield out of the enemy's tunnels and into an abandoned ammunition site. "That then leads us to Salisbury Area 8, which takes us from a copse down through a built French farm set, which takes us up a hill on a convoy route that takes us to another location in Salisbury," Pill says. "This is called Tinker's Track, which takes us to the canal in Glasgow...which takes us to our backlots at Shepperton."

That still wasn't all. "That then takes us to a river in County Durham, where we used a location, which is a white-water rafting center in Stockton-on-Tees," continues Pill, "which then takes us to the woods, Salisbury Area 14." Quick pause... "Which then brings us out onto the final battle here, and then takes us back to Area 2 at Salisbury for the end of the movie."

Building Trenches
One of four art directors under the production designer's supervision, ELAINE KUSMISHKO (Beauty and the Beast) was responsible for all trenches used in 1917. From the Western Front where we meet Schofield and Blake to the trenches held by Colonel Mackenzie.

Developed in central England, at Bovingdon, the almost-mile-long of trenches were dug and dressed with great attention to detail. "This location was chosen because of the duration of time that we could have the area," says Kusmishko. "We had the frontline trench, which automatically leads into No Man's Land, which we needed to show as a continuous set. That was quite a bit of land, especially flatland that was required."

Out of historical accuracy, the team's German trenches were built quite a bit wider than the Allied ones. Essentially, the enemy was there to stay. "They always thought it was going to be a long-term war and bunkered in," Kusmishko says. "They fortified their areas with concrete shoring and they really worked on their trenches. The Allies basically showed up and thought they were going to just take ground straight away; they believed they'd move forward and advance on the Germans. They never realized they were going to be there for so long."

All that painstaking attention to detail had a profound impact on the actors during filming. "George and I were standing in a trench on set in Bovingdon, the rain was coming down really hard, and we were just waiting for it to pass," Dean-Charles Chapman says. "In the trenches there's not much cover at all, and while we were standing there, George tapped me on the shoulder and pointed beyond me to the background actors. They were all in their uniforms, and they were all trying to get under this tiny bit of metal from the trench. I remember looking at that and thinking, 'That is exactly how it would have been 100 years ago: these men just waiting, bored, cold, trying to get cover from the rain.'"

Not to be outdone by a locations manager that eschewed sleep for several months or the four art directors, set decorator Lee Sandales and his team sourced nearly all the dressing seen in 1917. "Much of it was made, like our German guns, which were in the quarry set," Sandales says. "We also had to make 6,000 shell casings for that set, as well as all the defensive gates, which were then covered in layers of barbed wire. We also had to research, find and purchase a lot of the set dressings for the rest of the production. We traveled to multiple markets up and down the U.K. and to the south of France and Paris to build up enough stock."

From Scotland to Southwest England
Locations of the Epic
Shot across the U.K., 1917's locations included Govan docks in Glasgow, Scotland, the River Tees in North England, a disused quarry in Oxfordshire, Bovingdon Airfield in Hertfordshire and Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where the Ministry of Defense owns 94,000 acres of land. In sum, during production, the length of trenches dug at Bovingdon and Salisbury were an astonishing 5,200 feet (approximately one mile).

Bovingdon, Hertfordshire
Bovingdon Airfield was chosen for its proximity to Shepperton Studios and the vast size of the site (60 acres). The height of set builds had to be taken into consideration due to a National Air Traffic Services radar station in an adjoining airfield. The art, construction and greens departments arrived in January 2019 to commence prep, and the site was returned to its original state and handed back by locations in early September. The Bovingdon trenches were clay, and approximately 2,000 feet (610 meters) of Allied trench was built at this location across both fields.

The Allied Trenches
To design the frontline trenches, the art department undertook a great deal of research and discovered many Allied trenches with different construction techniques. The frontline trenches created were almost all similar in width to the ones in which the soldiers would have been fighting during World War I. Primary considerations were safety and drainage. As the trenches had 15-degree angles, shoring was required. The earth walls were retained with posts and boards to prevent collapse. In addition, a combination of materials was used to cover the framework and finish the look. These included textured, painted timber, plaster-sheeted earth, corrugated iron and sandbags. Wire mesh- and wattle-fencing were aged, and the paint team had a separate crew who would travel down the trenches-with axes chains and hammers-to establish the requisite four-year-old look.

No Man's Land
No Man's Land's set was split into two sections. There was the main section from the "up and over" to the far side of the large shell crater. There was also a repeat of a small section of the back rim of the large crater to the German frontline trenches. It became a vast, bleak landscape with deep mud and craters, barbed wire and the dead bodies of soldiers and horses. Due to its open nature, the entire 360-degrees of the set had to be scanned by the VFX team for additional use.

German Trenches
The German Trenches differed from the Allied ones in many ways, but primarily in size. During World War I, these trenches were dug deeper and wider. In addition, different materials-such as concrete and constructed-timber shuttering-were used to reinforce. The Germans also created vast trench systems and dugouts much deeper and more extensive than the Allied ones. This meant they were better able to protect and support their troops during key periods of being dug in. The length of the German trenches here was approximately 330 feet (100 meters).

Ambrose Quarry, Oxfordshire
Ambrose Quarry is owned by Grundon Sand and Gravel Ltd. Founded in 1929, it is one of the leading suppliers of sand and aggregates in the U.K. for construction, landscaping, decorative and leisure markets. The set was vast and chalky and served as the location where Schofield and Blake exit the German dugout after an explosion. The lance corporals find huge guns that the Germans have destroyed, as well as empty shells littered across the quarry.

Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire
Salisbury Plain was chosen because of its wide-open landscape, one that could pass for France. Most open landscapes in the U.K. are either open-moorland or dominated by hedge lines, stone-walling, villages and transmission towers, but not Salisbury Plain.

Filming took place in Wiltshire, which is in southwest England, covers 300 square miles (775 square kilometers) and stretches into Hampshire and Berkshire. It is a system of chalk-down lands with grassland, arable farmland and areas of trees. Salisbury Plain is famous for its archaeology, including the world-famous Stonehenge. A vast part of the plain has been used by the British military for training purposes for more than 100 years. Therefore, much of the land remains in a natural state. In certain areas, as far as the eye can see, there is little to no evidence of modern living.

Planning permission was required for the set builds and-due to the sensitive nature of the area-ecology, archaeology and geophysical surveys were required. Daily during prep, shoot and strike, locations had to liaise closely with the military as well, due to it being near a live-training site.

The construction department commenced excavation at Area 2 at Salisbury in late February 2019, with the work ongoing up until filming took place. This trench was chalk, as opposed to the Bovingdon clay one. Still, the Area 2 trench was constructed in the same manner as Bovingdon's, using the same materials.

The French farmhouse, barn and the other outbuildings were built in workshops at Shepperton Studios and then transported. Plaster sheeting and spreading, aging of timbers and painting finishes were all carried out on site. Once the set was complete, it looked like the farmhouse, barn, outbuildings and orchard had been there forever.

Area 14 was chosen as a location due to its landscape and topography. The combination of the copse that leads out onto a rising hillside was just what Mendes required for the scenes where Schofield reaches the 2nd Battalion frontline trenches. The quantity of chalk and top soil excavated from the site to create the trenches measured approximately 1,615 tons. The length of the trenches dug at Area 14 was approximately 2,500 feet (762 meters). For each trench-run take, the SFX pits exploded approximately 35 tons of material into the air.

Govan Graving Docks
River Clyde, Glasgow
For the canal-side scene in which Schofield and a German sniper battle it out, locations found a former boatyard in Scotland that worked perfectly. With a set build and dressing it was made to look like an industrial canal with a destroyed bridge. The VFX team extended the set to make it look like a complete canal.

Govan Graving Docks is a historic, listed site and planning permission was required for filming, including conversations with structural engineers. The locations and greens departments spent the first three weeks on site, from mid-April, clearing the extensively overgrown land. The exterior of the existing listed lockhouse was covered with a set build for exterior filming, and this was matched to the lockhouse that was crafted on the backlot at Shepperton Studios for interior scenes.

Low Force, County Durham
Low Force is an approximately 18-foot (5.5-meter) set of falls on the River Tees in Upper Teesdale, County Durham. The water levels needed to be constantly monitored, as MacKay and his stunt double were in the water at the falls, then swept along by the rapids. A large fallen tree was lowered in sections down to the river bank. It was then assembled and placed in the water for Schofield to clamber across. Alongside it, dead bodies the prosthetics department made were carefully set in the water.

Tees Barrage International Whitewater Centre
To shoot the motion sequences of Schofield in the river rapids, the team headed to Tees Barrage-part of Tees Active-a 300-meter whitewater-course outdoor-activity center on the River Tees in North East England in County Durham. Testing took place across various dates in the run-up to shoot-with the stunt, marine and camera departments, including trials with Mendes and MacKay.

Shepperton Studios
The production took over the backlot at Shepperton Studios in Middlesex to build the sprawling Ecoust set, as well as for some VFX-element shoots. Extraordinarily impressive, the Ecoust set was a destroyed French town where Schofield runs through in the dark from German gunfire. Representing a fully functioning town that had been systematically shelled, the huge set included crumbling buildings and shops, destroyed streets, a schoolhouse and a burning church.

Individuality in the Ranks
Outfitting the Soldiers
Research for the costume department commenced in summer 2018. As World War I is a much-covered period on screen, the costume designers, Jacqueline Durran and David Crossman, felt it was important to bring the unique to this massive undertaking. The department had a core team of 27 working full time, which included the design team, costume makers, costume assistants, ager dyers and prop makers. For the biggest crowd days, the department grew to approximately 60.

Durran, Crossman and their crew closely examined hundreds of original photographs, enlarging them to try and reveal details that highlight the soldier's individual nature. In fact, World War I uniforms were not all the same. They were customized by the men who wore them and conveyed aspects of their personalities.

Within these photographs, there were images that became key to reference. The costume team looked at the way in which things were worn, personal items such as jewelry and knitwear, and the customization of jackets and coats. All intel was taken into consideration for the key characters-as well as when dressing the crowd.

It was key for the director that we sense character from even the smallest of roles. "Everyone has a sense of individuality," Mendes says. "It wasn't so much a uniform. These were the clothes that they lived in for years. In many cases, you can tell as much about the man from the little bits of clothing he wears-which were sent from home-as from the things he has been given by the army."

Among the masses of khaki uniforms, systems of colored-cloth badges evolved in the trenches. Commonplace by 1917, this allowed different units to be identified quickly on the battlefield. This colored divisional insignia became a major topic of research to create a reliable system within the film. Of course, they needed to map out where Schofield and Blake were in France, and what their journey through the trench lines would be.

Durran and Crossman found suitable divisions to which they could belong, or serve alongside, and then went about finding the right insignia for the locations. This enabled the costume department to give different sequences in the film individual insignia systems, which can be seen on the soldiers throughout the story, culminating in the Devonshire's depiction in the final trenches.

The rehearsal process was beneficial for Durran, Crossman and their team, as well as the cast. "It was very useful for the actors as well as for us because as we did fittings over the weeks they'd be doing more and more rehearsals with Sam," Crossman says. "They'd get to know what they had to wear and became completely acclimatized to working in all the webbing, helmet and all of the equipment."

Schofield's Uniform
One of the main items Schofield wears is a 1902-service-dress tunic with brass shoulder titles that depict his regiment. Subdued lance corporal stripes denote his rank, and maroon divisional badges are worn on his upper sleeves. Durran and Crossman wanted him to wear every layer that a soldier would. They started with wool underwear, then a grey neckband shirt, a civilian cardigan-sent from home or the Red Cross-hobnail boots, grey wool socks, wool trousers and canvas braces.

The costume department made some "field repair" details to Schofield's sleeves. They cut the tunic slightly too big for MacKay, as it was designed to accommodate layers of clothes underneath. He also wore a leather jerkin, which had replaced the heavy and cumbersome wool greatcoat. These would normally be taken away for spring in April 1917, when the story is set, but Crossman discovered that year was very cold and soldiers on the Western Front continued to wear these items for longer. He also found out that it snowed on April 10 (the story takes place on April 6).

In addition, Schofield also wears a personal scarf, which can be seen protruding from his collar. Finally, for continuity purposes, Schofield had 25-30 uniforms. His helmet is a Brodie Mark I with a maroon band painted on to denote his division.

Blake's Uniform
Much as they did with Schofield's outfit, Durran and Crossman made Blake's costume individual to his character. Together they form an example of how two identically ranked soldiers, serving side by side, would have looked different on the Western Front.

Blake wears the same items as Schofield, though his jerkin leather is a different color and texture. He wears 1914-pattern equipment, which was issued as a stopgap during canvas-'08 pattern equipment shortages earlier in the war. He also wears a privately purchased ID bracelet, along with inexpensive gold rings. His helmet is the same as Schofield's with the addition of a regimental badge on it, which was common practice.

His cardigan is more like a military-issue item, as opposed to Schofield's civilian version. Blake's lance corporal stripes are standard issue, while Schofield wears subdued versions. For continuity, Blake had 24 uniforms throughout the film.

Dressing the Crowds and Officers
Because of the fluid nature of the film, the correct ratio of NCO's (sergeants, corporals, etc.) and officers (lieutenants, captains and the like) were required for each scene and were dressed into the shot as required.

The crowd was supplied with as many layers as possible to achieve a good silhouette and demeanor. An under-wool shirt, tunic, jerkin and webbing were standard issue. The equipment was fully loaded with two gas masks and groundsheet. For good measure, the mess tins and rations bags were hung off their backpacks as well.

Overall, the officers' uniforms were made in the costume workroom and most of the crowd costumes at the production's costume company in Poland. Durran and Crossman had developed wool fabrics in the past with this group, which proved a massive help when it came time to manufacture. Some uniforms were stock, and around 300-400 were made. One officer's costume would take around two weeks to make. The process was spread over several weeks, as it is made in stages, and then refined through a series of fittings with the actors.

Allied Helmets
One of the biggest concerns was to get the look of the helmets right for the film. Often, film and television productions have repurposed World War II helmets to shoot World War I projects, as a cost-saving measure. That's because the Brodie helmets of the Great War no longer exist in large numbers. But that kind of corner cutting wouldn't do for this film. At the time the film is set, the helmet shape was different and was undergoing both invention and development. So, to capture this moment in time authentically, the helmets in 1917 appear to differ in size on different soldiers in the film. The helmets often had ridges, or stretch marks, from the type of factory production, or steel, that was used.

The scale of the helmet on a man of today may also look different, due to the fact that humans are taller and larger than we were 100 years ago. The costume department scanned some original helmets and built a faithful 100 percent copy on a computer. They then scaled up some of the helmets to 105 percent to 108 percent. With the proportion altered, the silhouette was now correct on modern-day actors and background artists.

Around 300 helmets were made for the production, which was more cost- effective than trying to source the actual items. They appear to be made of metal but are not. The remainder were covered in hessian and other rough fabrics, as was done during the war.

Often helmets had cruise visors, which resembled a chain metal curtain, to prevent eye wounds. These were issued to 100,000 men across the Western Front and many were worn turned to the back of their heads, due to the heavy weight.

German Uniforms and Gear
Much like the British, the Germans wore heavy wool uniforms; though, for economy, theirs were simpler at this time of the war. Due to its deeper style, the iconic-shaped German helmet was very effective against shrapnel. At this stage of the particularly cold early spring, greatcoats were worn rather than jerkins.

German webbing was more basic, leather rather than canvas. Like the British and French, the Germans adopted ankle boots and puttees mostly for economic reasons. They are field grey, which is a greenish color to the eye. Discussing the mandate that all had to be exacting, the costume designers were wholly on board. "It felt very natural, and Sam's vision was very clear," Durran says. "We all knew what we were doing and what we wanted to do. That was the beauty of this ... we really understood what we were trying to achieve as a group of people for Sam, and for the movie."

By 1917, the conflict had undergone a significant revolution-from large formations on foot facing the enemy to the technological advancements of open warfare. The introduction of automatic weapons, tanks, aerial support and chemical weapons changed the face of conflict. Soldiers were given helmets and gas masks in an effort to provide them with some protection from gas, artillery and shrapnel, though for many thousands it could not protect them from life-changing injuries and death.

Military historian Andy Robertshaw worked alongside set decoration and the props departments, giving general advice and also providing original props, for them to copy. Robertshaw also produced a bible of information about weapons and tactics in use at the time. He engaged with costume designer David Crossman about costumes and the units and graphics.

Authentic Period Looks
Makeup, Hair and Prosthetics
Makeup and hair designer Naomi Donne and prosthetics designer Tristan Versluis worked closely with 1917's costume designers Jacqueline Durran and David Crossman throughout the shoot. Discussing in detail countless photographs and copious reference material, they processed the individuality of uniforms, faces, haircuts and the teeth of the characters they were creating, as well as any wounds and injuries. Mendes' team wanted the men living in the trenches to look completely real-with their endless layers of dirt and mud-just as the historical figures appear in photographs and documentaries.

Makeup and Hair
To prepare her makeup artists for the tasks at hand, Donne wrote a booklet called "A Soldier's Life." This gave the creatives a sense of why she wanted the actors to look a certain way, and the reasons why the characters would end up appearing the way they did. Donne's material included everything from the specific haircuts the men had, as well as how often they had it trimmed.

"As soon as I read the script, I started researching," Donne says. "You always have a sense of World War I, but I knew very little compared to what I know now about how the men lived. I did a lot of research on their day-to-day life, how they washed and how they shaved-as well as when they washed, how they dealt with the lice...everything that they went through and how it affected them."

As there was a soldier in the script with tattooed forearms, Donne extended her studies to researching century-old ink. She discovered there once was a tattooist at Waterloo station who would ply his art on the men before they went off to war. Delving further, she found a tattoo museum in Liverpool that still had all of his artwork, as well as the machinery from the artist himself. With Donne's research, her team designed the tattoos she wanted for the character.

Not only would the principal actors have to go through this department, but hundreds of extras were required to do the same. The production's criteria for the crowd was that each member had good "characterful" faces. Donne, crowd hair and makeup supervisor ANDREA FINCH (Wonder Woman), and her team fully prepped prior to the start of the shoot. Many undertook their own research, as well as watching documentaries and researching archive images.

The extras' hair would be cut a couple of weeks before they shot their key scenes, and on filming days-as they went through makeup and hair-they were carefully layered with dirt by the crowd team. This allowed each man to look as if he had picked up the mud and the muck along his way.

"We fitted them about six weeks before they shot, and we got through vast quantities of people," Donne says. "We had a lot of makeup artists, often up to 40, plus prosthetic makeup artists at times. We had all the stations set up and reference pictures all around this vast room that locations set up. We had back washes and shaving sinks. It made everything go through quite smoothly, but it took a great deal of time. Their hands had to be filthy. Their hair had to be cut, and it had to be dirty."

Likewise, Versluis spent a great deal of time with Donne examining images. As he worked to re-create looks, injuries and blood rigs, the prosthetics designer aimed to mirror the period. To bring to life the images in Mendes and Wilson-Cairns' script, Versluis' team made many corpses-from human bodies of soldiers and villagers to horses and a dog. As the bodies convey the destruction and death that results from conflict of the era, the aim was to be realistic without disrespecting the massive loss of life.

As everything on set included a 360-degree view, a camera could potentially go anywhere as it moved among the scene. That facet meant that Versluis' team had to build absolutely everything to a higher quality. "If we build a hedge, for example," Versluis says, "you might not see the back of it, but everything inside it needed to be lifelike on camera, right in front of you. This gave Sam the flexibility to move the camera where he wanted. The actors could see the prosthetics, touch them and interact with them, and it brought about more levels of details than anything we have ever done before."

One of the grimmest moments of the shoot was when the prosthetics designer's team was required to create a dam of bodies for Schofield to clamber over as he crosses the river to Ecoust. This was a challenge in terms of making the placement of the bodies look realistic-all the while allowing the movement of MacKay across them and the water. In this exhausting and emotional moment for his character, the audience can only imagine what the young soldiers who encountered this madness must have felt.

Visceral Experience
Thomas Newman's Score
Composer Thomas Newman has worked with Sam Mendes on almost every film the director has made over the past two decades, including Skyfall, Spectre, Road to Perdition, Jarhead and American Beauty. From their first conversation about 1917, Newman understood that it would be like nothing he'd done before. "I knew that the experience of time in this film was going to make it different from any other project I had encountered," Newman says. "It meant exploring how musical time works in lockstep with or in counterpoint to film time."

Because 1917 is experienced almost in real time, Newman and Mendes needed to approach the score differently. "We wanted to make sure we had earned the right to express emotion in musical terms," Newman says. "Because the movie takes place in present tense, the more the music commented on any particular action, the less exciting it was likely to be. Sam and I talked frequently about how to earn those moments where music could be justifiably emotive, and likewise how music could get out of the way and avoid the trap of being overly written."

The goal was to create a score that served the story and didn't distract from it. "The challenge was getting the music to create a kind of neutral propulsion that benefited from paleness and steered clear of comment," Newman continues. "Viscera, we figured, would win out over needless complexity. So in many cases, the music only hints at feeling, is absorbed by landscapes. Only in rare instances does it reflect character, speak directly to drama or draw conclusions."

Newman began working on the score before and during production. "The composing process spilled out in real-time for me, too," Newman says. "That was quite unique. 1917 was pretty much born as it was being shot."

The film's music was also shaped by the filming locations themselves. "The locations did have an impact on the score, by virtue of color and palette alone," Newman says. "Mud brown in the case of No Man's Land. Chalk and grass in the case of the final run. They suggested an instrumental vocabulary that affected my approach to harmony and tempo."

Throughout the writing process, the longtime creative partnership between Newman and Mendes helped them navigate uncharted musical ground. "Sam has a very reliable set of ears," Newman says. "And he can point very easily to colors and sounds that move him or distract him. Lucky for me, music has always played heavily into his manner of storytelling. So, the expectations were high but the rewards were deeply meaningful."

Like every element of the film, the score was designed to bring the audience inside the experience of these two young soldiers. "Mostly, I wanted the music to propel action without complicating it, to hover passively at one moment, and land and propel at another," Newman says. "1917 is compelling, immersive drama without music. The goal was to avoid accidental redundancy and to add richness and dimension to the drama only as it unfolded."

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