George MacKay Reveals His Most Dramatic Scene in 1917 Was a Mistake

-George. Welcome to our show. Thank you for being here. -Thank you.
Thanks for having me. -Congratulations. “1917” won two Golden Globes
over the weekend. It won for Best Director
and Best Film. Not too shabby, buddy. [ Cheers and applause ]
-Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much. -How did it feel? Did you have fun
at the Golden Globes? -Yeah, yeah. It was mad. You know, I’ve obviously
never been before. And it was just —
It was kind of crazy. You know, you’re seeing all
these people that you recognize, that you’ve been
growing up watching. It was — It was good. -You must be getting
great feedback. This movie is phenomenal.
-Yeah, yeah. It’s been — It’s wonderful, like, for the
team, for everyone who did it. You know, it’s just —
it’s great. You know, when you have, like —
When a job means so much to you when you’re doing it, when it
aligns with a good reception, It’s a good thing, so… -When Sam was accepting
the Golden Globe, he said that when
he made this movie he wanted to cast two unknowns. Are you fine
being called an “unknown”? -Yeah, I think —
You know, I am an unknown. So I’ve got to be okay with it. -No, I think you’re
actually becoming known. -Well, maybe — I don’t know.
-Yeah. That’s the last — [ Cheers and applause ]
That’s the last of the unknown. It’s over.
-Well, who knows? -You’ll never be unknown again.
-From this point on. -Well, tell everyone what “1917”
is about basically. -Well, “1917” is set
in the First World War. And it’s the story of these
two soldiers who get tasked with delivering a message to
stop an attack from happening. And one of those soldiers,
their brother is in this attack. And they’re heading into
what they think is open ground, but they’re heading into, you
know, what could be a massacre, and it’s our job to get there
before they do. -It is totally amazing to watch. ‘Cause when I walked into it,
everyone’s like, “Oh, it looks like
the whole thing is basically one tracking shot,”
and it does look like that. But I’ve heard like,
no, it wasn’t. It’s, like, different scenes — Like, eight-minute scenes
stitched together. -Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-How did you film this movie? It was unbeliev– It’s insane. -We rehearsed for
six months beforehand. ‘Cause you’ve got to basically
choreograph the entire film. Because, you know,
usually you have an edit, and you can kind of, like,
suss out the rhythm of a scene. But the rhythm of the scene
dictates the length of the set, ’cause everything has
got to be made to measure. -Yeah.
-So we rehearsed. We started out
on an empty field, you know, six months before
we started shooting. -With trenches dug?
-No. No trenches. Literally just looking
like a bunch of mad people in big coats with our scripts. -Are you afraid
that you might mess up? ‘Cause if you mess up a take, then everyone’s
got to redo the — I mean — -Yeah, we had that, as well.
You know? I had a few times where I was
responsible for, you know — You’re six minutes
into like a seven-minute take, and the rifle
falls off your shoulder. Like, something really, like,
kind of pithy like that. -Because you have to do
all these, like — I mean, if you look at this — There’s all these explosions
everywhere. I think that’s you. -Yeah. Yeah.
-I remember that scene. But what if you mess up
your line when you land? -Yeah. Well, I mean, you can’t.
[ Laughs ] -You really can’t.
But it’s just — It’s wild. And it’s powerful.
And I just — I think my favorite scene,
I think, is just you running and just —
everyone’s bumping into you. -Yeah, well, that’s — that’s
a mistake that made it in. That wasn’t meant to happen.
-Really? -Yeah, yeah.
We’re doing this scene. And it’s, yeah, a point in
the film where my character’s got no choice
but to make this big run, and this attack’s
happening simultaneously. And, again,
we’d rehearsed it for weeks, and we’d rehearsed that
he didn’t get knocked into. And then on the day,
you know, you take some hits. But the rule is you don’t stop
unless they say stop. So we just — we just —
-How do you know that? This is your first big thing.
Right? -You just kind of trust that, you know,
you just got to carry on. -I want to show everyone a clip
of that running scene. -Okay. Great.
-Which was a mistake, I guess. -Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-I did not know. -A beautiful mistake.
-It really was beautiful. Here’s George MacKay in “1917.”
Take a look. [ Whistle blowing ] [ Explosions ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] -That was great, man.
George MacKay, everybody.


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