Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth Join Sam Mendes World War I Drama ‘1917’

Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, and Richard Madden have joined Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1917.”

DreamWorks Pictures and Universal Pictures announced Thursday that “1917” will start shooting on April 1 on location in England and Scotland. Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Jamie Parker, Nabhaan Rizwan and Claire Duburcq have also been cast.

The film follows two young British soldiers, previously announced as being played by George MacKay (“Captain Fantastic”) and Dean-Charles Cahapman (“Game of Thrones”), on a single day at the height of World War I.

Universal had announced late last year that it had given a limited release date of Dec. 25 to “1917” and then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand.

Mendes wrote the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and will direct and produce the film. Pippa Harris, Mendes’ partner at Neal Street Productions, will also produce with Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall. George MacKay (“Captain Fantastic”) and Dean-Charles Chapman (“Game of Thrones”) have been cast in the film.

Amblin Partners won a spec package auction for “1917” in June. 1917 was the fourth year of World War I, which ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

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“1917” marks a reunion for Mendes and DreamWorks. The British director won an Oscar for his first feature, 1999’s “American Beauty,” and also directed “Road to Perdition” and “Revolutionary Road” for DreamWorks. Mendes also helmed “Jarhead,” “Away We Go,” and the last two James Bond movies: 2012’s “Skyfall” and 2015’s “Spectre.”