Christopher Nolan is one of the few filmmakers working today who can say "Jump!" and have a studio eagerly shout "How high?!" His track record is unbelievably strong, commercially and critically. He makes huge hits that not only make silos of money theatrically, but they stick around in the pop-culture consciousness for years. He's kind of a big deal.
Having said all of that, we're not quite ready to fully believe this rumor about his next movie, the World War II drama Dunkirk. According to the site Indie Revolver, Nolan has asked Warner Bros. to buy him an actual WW2 plane to film IMAX sequences. And then when they're done using it for that, he's going to plant those cameras on the ground and film the plane actually crashing.
Oh, and did we mention the plane costs $5 million? That's an expensive stunt, and doesn't even factor in the cost of logistics. And while the fiscal price is one reason to balk at this ideaq, it's even more insane that Nolan would want to destroy a piece of WWII history just to get a cool shot. After all, this is the guy who made a documentary about some little known stop-motion animation directors because he wanted to help preserve their work. This is the guy who keeps fighting to use actual film on his movies. Nolan loves to honor the past.
Then again, spectacle sells huge these days. Knowing Tom Cruise was actually going to cling to the side of a plane went a long way to sell the last Mission: Impossible. People want to see real stunts and real people and real action. Crashing an actual WWII plane would certainly get that buzz– and more than a little controversy. And it's not like this would be the first time Nolan's blown up something for real, either. They blew up an old hospital to get one of the most iconic shots of The Dark Knight. Granted, it had already been scheduled for demolition, but still. Maybe the plane they're buying is already on a scrap heap and they're going to restore it for one last moment of glory.
If there is any truth to this rumor, we hope that is indeed the case. Classic cars have certainly been restored and destroyed countless times just to get the right shot. Doing it with a plane wouldn't be so egregious under the right circumstances.
Dunkirk, starring Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh comes out July 21, 2017.