Circuit Breaker Interview: The Craft Team for ‘Darkest Hour’ Discuss Recreating 1940 London

Joe Wright‘s latest film, “Darkest Hour,” takes the audience to the middle of London in 1940. Facing political opponents at home and the German Army on the shores of France, newly selected Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) is desperate to rally his nation and change the course of the war, and the future.

Taking the audience into the world of London in 1940 was a challenge. It is one Joe Wright has undertaken before with 2007 Best Picture nominee, “Atonement.”

For this endeavor, Wright called upon some of his frequent collaborators, as well as new faces. Together, they designed a film that is rich in showcasing the impoverished, war-torn city.  From the sets to the authentic costumes to the meticulously plotted sound design, “Darkest Hour” is an achievement of craft and technicality.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with several members of the craft team to discuss their work.

The interviews took place aboard the historic ship-turned-hotel Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. What follows is a collection of stories and experiences shared by the craft team.

Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran won an Academy Award for another Joe Wright collaboration, “Anna Karenina.” She was also nominated for “Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement,” and “Mr. Turner.” Ms. Durran also did the costume design for this year’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Editor Valerio Bonelli has worked with Joe Wright only once before: on an episode of “Black Mirror.”  Bonelli began editing feature films in the mid-2000s and has worked on projects including “Hannibal Rising,” “Philomena,” and “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Production Designer Sarah Greenwood and Set Decorator Katie Spencer have been working together for more than 20 years. The four-time Academy Award nominees have worked with Wright on nearly all of his films. They also worked alongside Durran on this year’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Sound Editor Craig Berkey has worked with Wright several times before. Berkey is a three-time Academy Award nominee, earning a nod for “No Country for Old Men” and two for “True Grit.”

Director of Photography Bruno Delbonnel is a newcomer to Joe Wright’s team. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards for Cinematography. His credits include “Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

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MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
FOREIGN LANGUAGE | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE |