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‘Dunkirk’ Stars Recall Receiving Script Shrouded in Secrecy: ‘I Felt Like I Was on a Spy Film’

Variety logo Variety 7/19/2017 Addie Morfoot
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Christopher Nolan might have been the man of the hour, but he was practically invisible at the New York premiere of his new movie, “Dunkirk,” on Tuesday.

The filmmaker didn’t stop for interviews on the AMC Loews Lincoln Square red carpet, and didn’t stay for the after-party at the Rainbow Room, which was overflowing with praise for Nolan.

“The man is a genius,” star Barry Keoghan proclaimed.

Meanwhile masses of crying teens (and their mothers) braved the muggy New York City streets for a glimpse of Harry Styles.

The widest 70MM release in 25 years! Who cares? These girls were on a mission to meet, and maybe touch, the One Directioner. Like Nolan, the 23-year-old “X Factor” alum didn’t have much time for the media, but he made sure to melt a few hearts with a handshake and a few selfies.

“Dunkirk” centers on the 1940 evacuation of more than 300,000 Allied troops who were pinned down by the Nazis on a beach in northern France. Keoghan stars alongside Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy.

Rylance, who plays a boat-owning civilian in the film, revealed the secretive process in which Nolan delivered the script.

“My agent wasn’t allowed to see the script,” Rylance said. “Chris sent it in an envelope directly to me and probably in an armored car. I’m glad he did get it to me because it was a profound take on the genre of war films and this particular event.”

Branagh, who plays Commander Bolton, had a similar stealthy script swap experience.

“Chris and only Chris gave me the envelope with the red un-photocopiable pages with my name kind of carved into it,” Branagh said. “When there was a revision of the script I had to fly to Los Angeles and hand it directly back to him. I felt like I was on a spy film.”

The thesp said that Nolan didn’t have to convince him to do the film.

“In my mind I had said yes. But because I’m an actor — you know we’re insane. ‘I love it. I love you. But my part is just a little,’” Branagh joked. “No, to be honest I was bit shocked he asked me to be involved.”

“Dunkirk” hits theaters on Friday.

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