How the war was re­done

What the hell is Over­lord, the mys­te­ri­ous J.J. Abrams pro­duced World War II mash-up?

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - JOHN NU­GENT

IT’S A WAR MOVIE

Over­lord bor­rows its ti­tle from Op­er­a­tion Over­lord, the co­de­name for the Al­lied in­va­sion of Nor­mandy in 1944. Di­rec­tor Julius Avery ex­plains that it’s “quite lit­er­ally the jump­ing-off point”, as the film opens on a team of Amer­i­can para­troop­ers leap­ing from a burn­ing plane on D-day. Nazis are handy bad guys — “There’s noth­ing bet­ter than watch­ing Nazis get blown up,” Avery notes — but once our he­roes land, the film veers sharply into a fic­tional al­ter­nate his­tory.

IT’S AN AC­TION MOVIE

“I love in­tense, phys­i­cal ac­tion,” says Avery, and as the Ac/dc-sound­tracked trailer hints, the em­pha­sis here is on ri­otous B-movie fun. “I re­ally wanted to put the au­di­ence in­side the ac­tion and feel like they’re rid­ing shot­gun with the sol­diers.” The film’s open­ing set-piece takes the form of an un­bro­ken long take from the point of view of lead char­ac­ter Boyce (Jo­van Adepo). “The whole thing was done in cam­era,” Avery says.

IT’S A SCI-FI HOR­ROR MOVIE

The Amer­i­cans en­counter a Nazi lab, set­ting the scene for what Avery de­scribes as “com­pletely bonkers” su­per­nat­u­ral hor­ror. He’s not re­veal­ing the specifics, but notes with glee the rub­ber la­tex sacks that Nazis would put peo­ple in were too ter­ri­fy­ing even for the stunt­men. “One lost his nerve,” Avery re­calls. “He was like, ‘You can throw me out of a mov­ing car, you can set me on fire, but I’m never go­ing back in that thing.’”

IT’S (PROB­A­BLY) NOT A CLOVERFIELD MOVIE

Ru­mours still per­sist that Over­lord is part of the Cloverfield uni­verse; as re­cently as Fe­bru­ary, pro­ducer J.J. Abrams re­fused to con­firm or deny whether it was the fourth en­try in his suc­ces­ful alien fran­chise. But since then it has been flatly de­nied by both pro­ducer and now di­rec­tor. “This is not a Cloverfield movie,” Avery says, firmly. The fi­nal word, then. Or is it just mis­di­rec­tion? OVER­LORD IS IN CIN­E­MAS FROM 7 NOVEM­BER

Em­pire spoke to di­rec­tor Julius Avery on the phone from Queens­land, Aus­tralia, on 14 Au­gust.

Clock­wise from main: Game Of Thrones’ Pilou As­baek as Wil­lis; Mathilde Ol­livier runs for her life; You want to get that seen to, mate.

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