email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

PRODUCTION / FUNDING USA / UK

Steve McQueen teams up with Saoirse Ronan and Harris Dickinson for wartime drama Blitz

by 

- The decorated British director’s next film, his first made with Apple, focuses on the German bombardment of Britain in World War II, and has just begun shooting in London

Steve McQueen teams up with Saoirse Ronan and Harris Dickinson for wartime drama Blitz
Director Steve McQueen, actress Saoirse Ronan (© Dr Lovell) and actor Harris Dickinson (© Montclair Film Festival)

After garnering some of the greatest acclaim of his career to date for his BBC anthology series Small Axe, British director Steve McQueen has finally begun work on another theatrical feature. Blitz, which has just entered production, will be an ensemble film following the stories of various Londoners during the German bombing campaign on the British capital in World War II, with the most prominent names in the cast being Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, Atonement [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Harris Dickinson (coming off the Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ruben Östlund
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
) and Stephen Graham (Boiling Point [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philip Barantini
film profile
]
, The Irishman). Kathy Burke and The Jam frontman Paul Weller (in his film acting debut) make up the mature end of the supporting cast, with newcomers Elliott Heffernan and Erin Kellyman also in tow. Blitz will also mark McQueen’s first sole feature screenwriting credit.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The film is a US-UK co-production courtesy of McQueen’s own outfit Lammas Park, Apple Studios (which also holds the world distribution rights), New Regency (the US producers of his previous films 12 Years a Slave [+see also:
trailer
making of
interview: Michael Fassbender
film profile
]
and Widows [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Steve McQueen
film profile
]
) and Working Title. McQueen’s movie is on a slate of upcoming Apple releases including Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, projects that in years past would typically have had traditional studio backing, but which are now the preserve of deep-pocketed streaming platforms.

The “Blitz” itself was a term first used by the British press to describe the 1940-41 bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, derived from the German term Blitzkrieg. Major cities across the country faced Luftwaffe attacks day and night, and endured major civilian casualties and damage, although the events soon came to be regarded as a symbol of British resilience against Nazi Germany’s territorial aggression. Its most notable cinematic depiction to date has perhaps been in John Boorman’s Hope and Glory, although Terence Davies has staged memorable scenes in his work showing regular civilians enduring the events, where songs of solidarity might break out in the Tube stations used as ad hoc air-raid shelters. McQueen also joins prestigious national colleagues such as Christopher Nolan and Sam Mendes – with Dunkirk [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and 1917 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, respectively – in choosing to dramatise these key events in Britain’s military history with a sense of scale and realism. According to a report in British tabloid the Daily Mail, McQueen told his cast, “This is a British film, telling a British story, and one of the rare opportunities to do so on a fairly large scale.”

Before his success in narrative filmmaking, McQueen was known for his video art and installations; in 1999, he received the Turner Prize, the most prestigious award given to a British visual artist. His debut film, Hunger [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laura Hastings-Smith Rob…
interview: Steve McQueen
film profile
]
, won the Cannes Caméra d’Or in 2008, and an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave followed in 2013. He is also in post-production on Occupied City (see the news), a documentary on Amsterdam’s experience under Nazi occupation in World War II, which is expected to premiere next year.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy