Principal photography has started on “1917,” the next film from Oscar-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes. The war-drama boasts an impressive cast, including George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, and Claire Duburcq. Also featured in the film are Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.

DreamWorks Pictures and Universal Pictures are planning on releasing the film on December 25th, and the story follows two British soldiers (MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) on a single day at the height of World War I.

Mendes will direct the film, working from a screenplay that he wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns. The film will begin principal photography next week, shooting on location in England and Scotland. The creative team includes cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049, Skyfall); production designer Dennis Gassner (Bugsy, Road to Perdition); costume designer Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina, Darkest Hour); editor Lee Smith (Dunkirk, The Dark Knight); and composer Thomas Newman.

Mendes is behind several modern hits, including “American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition,” “Jarhead,” and “Revolutionary Road.” The director then turned his talents to the James Bond franchise, directing “Skyfall” and “Spectre” for Sony Pictures. “Skyfall” made over $1.1B for the studio, and “Spectre” made over $880M.

December is always a crowded month at the box office, and this year won’t be an exception. “1917” will open against the animated-feature “The Call of the Wild” from FOX, and “Little Women” from director Greta Gerwig. The “Jumanji Sequel” is kicking off the month of December, releasing against an untitled Blumhouse project. The really crowded weekend at the box office this year is the second weekend, which will host three major releases. On December 20th, the musical “Cats” will open against “Star Wars: Episode IX” and the action-comedy “Superintelligence” with Melissa McCarthy. The following weekend Sony Pictures is scheduled to release the new “Masters of the Universe” reboot, though the cast for that film hasn’t been confirmed yet.

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