After making the last two James Bond movies (Skyfall and Spectre), director Sam Mendes officially has his next project set, the World War I epic drama 1917. The filmmaker is teaming up with Steven Spielberg, who will produce through his Amblin Entertainment company. This marks a reunion for the director and producer, who had worked together on Mendes' first two films, Best Picture winner American Beauty and Road to Perdition, along with Revolutionary Road. Here's what Mendes had to say in a statement about reuniting with Spielberg.
"I couldn't be happier to be back working with Amblin and Steven Spielberg again, alongside Donna Langley and all at Universal. I've been working on this script for over a year, so it's very exciting to start making the movie itself a reality."
Universal Pictures will be distributing the project through their distribution deal with Amblin Entertainment, with production scheduled to begin next April with the studio planning a December 2019 release date. While no exact release date has been given, there are already a number of high-profile movies slated for release during that month, including Sony's Masters of the Universe (December 18, 2019), Universal's Wicked (December 20, 2019), Disney's Star Wars 9 (December 20, 2019), Warner Bros. Superintelligence (December 25, 2019) and 20th Century Fox's The Call of the Wild (December 25, 2019). Here's what Steven Spielberg himself had to say in his statement about 1917.
"Our company has been a home for Sam since his first film. I am so happy to have him back here in his old room spinning new stories, especially this hugely daring and ambitious new movie."
This film will also mark Sam Mendes' debut as a credited screenwriter, having written the original spec script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, a writer on Showtime's Penny Dreadful who was produced by Mendes' company Neal Street Films. Mendes set aside time to write the script while he was preparing to direct Jez Butterworth's play The Ferryman in London, which will make its Broadway debut this October. Mendes was once set to direct The Voyeur's Motel, written by Wilson-Cairns, but that deal fell apart when the author of the book the movie was based on, Gay Talese, appeared in a Netflix documentary dubbed Voyeur which told the same story as his book.
As for 1917, no plot details have been released, although 1917 was towards the end of World War I, so it's possible it could follow how the war truly came to a close. Deadline also reports that, before Amblin Entertainment finalized their deal for the project, it had sparked a bidding war between several other suitors including Paramount, Sony Pictures and New Regency. With production starting next April, it's possible that the casting process will start sooner rather than later, and with the involvement of Sam Mendes and Steven Spielberg, it could very well attract plenty of high-profile talent. Still, we're a long ways away from production getting started, but hopefully we'll have more updates soon.