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British actors Jack Lowden and Aneurin Barnard are in talks for major roles in Christopher Nolan’s World War II action adventure Dunkirk. Lowden is believed to be up for one of the two leading roles in the pic, with newcomer Fionn Whitehead up for the other lead role, while Barnard’s part is also believed to be significant. Details of the exact nature of the roles are being closely guarded as is often the way with a Nolan project. What we do know is the project will deal with the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk which took place from May-June 1940.

Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy will be part of an ensemble made up largely of unknowns. Nolan, his co-producer and partner Emma Thomas, oversaw an extensive casting process for the film, with virtually every young British and Irish actor putting themselves on tape for this. Nolan was known to be looking for unknowns for the major roles, thereby giving scores of young thesps the hope of a once-in-a-lifetime big break to nab a major role with a visionary filmmaker.

Pic will be shot on Imax 65mm and 65mm large-format film. Dubbed Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk was a British military operation that saved some 330,000 Allied soldiers trapped in the harbor and surrounded by the German army. Winston Churchill described it as “a miracle of deliverance.”

Lowden is one of the most exciting young actors in the UK right now. He has won plaudits for his performance in BBC-Weinstein Co co-production War And Peace. He also plays iconic left-wing politician Tony Benn in Amma Asante’s much-buzzed about A United Kingdom, starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo. He also stars opposite Rachel Weisz, Andrew Scott and Timothy Spall in Mick Jackson’s Denial. He is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA.

Barnard impressed with his portrayal of King Richard in the BBC-Starz miniseries The White Queen. He is repped by The Artists Partnership.

Warner Bros has dated the film for July 21, 2017. The studio declined to comment when contacted by Deadline.



Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard is swapping the britches for a more modern wardrobe in Thirteen, but the drama remains high for his new role.

He’s been seen more recently in big budget period dramas like War & Peace, but Ogmore actor Aneurin Barnard has come back into the 21st century with a bump as he stars in Thirteen.

The five-part series is BBC Three’s first drama since the youth channel’s move online and it also airs on BBC Two tonight (Sunday) and tells the story of kidnap victim, Ivy Moxam’s ( My Mad Fat Diary’s Jodie Comer ) return to her family after 13 years.

Written by young rising star Marnie Dickens, Thirteen explores how to pick up the threads of a life half-lived and how to survive as a family under the greatest pressure.

Barnard, who is also known for his roles in The Scandalous Lady W and Cilla, stars as Tim, Ivy’s friend and boyfriend from her teenage years before she was kidnapped.

Explaining why he was attracted to the role, the actor said he was intrigued by the complex relationships and, simply, good storytelling.

He said: “I like mystery in stories and when I read the scripts, at certain points I found myself questioning Ivy. Did she run away? Was she taken? “You don’t get that clarity at first and I love the way it throws you into the middle of the story with no explanation – the story has to unwind and the pieces get put together the further you go.

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“The one thing that stands out for me is the relationships: the dynamics of relationships and how complex we are as human beings. We try to hold onto the past. It’s very complicated because everyone at some point trusts someone in this story but is then betrayed. There’s a spinning chessboard of themes – you never know who is telling the truth and who is lying.

“It’s good storytelling.”

The relationship, old and new, is central to the plot development of Thirteen; “Tim and Ivy’s history is from growing up together, becoming best friends as teenagers, before becoming a couple,” he expains.

“They were each other’s first love. Both are local and had little hangouts they used to go to, different park benches and dustbins on top of hills looking over towns.

“(When she returns) you see the two souls connect again and he tries to remind her of the happy times and explains things like how you don’t need a cassette player, you can just have an iPod! She’s been blocked out from a changing world.”

Thirteen, episodes one and two are available on iPlayer now, and episode one airs on BBC Two, Sunday March 6 at 10pm