To celebrate the eagerly-anticipated release of 1917, the new film from Sam Mendes (Spectre, American Beauty), we had the pleasure of chatting to Mendes, co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns and stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman about the moving and tense film that may well win big through this year’s awards season.

Mendes, who based the film of some of the stories and history of this grandfather, decided he wanted to make the film feel like one shot, a massive undertaking for him, his cinematographer Roger Deakins and his cast. Here, he, his two leads and co-writer discuss the unique challenges of such a decision, how it affected their performances and their direction and why such a narrative choice only adds to the drama and thoughtfulness of the story.

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers— Blake’s own brother among them.

1917 is directed by Sam Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). The film is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (Rocketman, Black Swan).

Check out the full interviews below:

1917 opens in UK cinemas on January 10th.