Sam Mendes Reveals Why He Wrote That Shocking Twist In 1917
Note: This article contains spoilers from 1917.
1917 delivered plenty of tense twists and turns, though one of the most shocking scenes came halfway through the movie when one of the main characters was unexpectedly killed off.
In the emotional scene, Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) rescue a German pilot from a burning plane, before Blake is fatally stabbed by the enemy soldier.
Opening up about the moment, director Sam Mendes has revealed that they always planned to kill off one of the pair, and that they wanted to subvert expectations with it being Blake.
"It was very clear to both me and [co-writer] Krysty [Wilson-Cairns] that we were going to take two men on this journey and one of them was going to die," he told Empire. "So then the job became to subtly suggest if either of the two of them were to die, it would be the other one.
"Schofield is the one without a brother so I suppose lazily an audience might think, 'If a guy's going to die, it's not going to be the guy with a brother'. And we were both aware of that.
"I wanted it to be a moment of chance. In an awful irony, the German soldier who they rescue from a burning plane pulls out his bayonet and stabs Blake, in fear more than anything else."
Wilson-Cairns added: "There are formulas in screenwriting about when things should happen and I think it's all horseshit. I always think you should let the story dictate itself. It should feel real.
"So I picked a moment where it feels natural for the two characters – it was time to separate them and also a moment where the audience wouldn't be traditionally told to expect it. It was really harrowing to write."
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.