Steve McQueen readies two WWII film projects

Written by on May 17, 2023

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Steve McQueen has not one but two film projects set during World War II on the way. The Academy Award-nominated filmmaker is readying a feature film, “Blitz,” and a documentary, “Occupied City,” according to Variety.

The latter premieres on May 17 via the Special Screenings section at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Blitz,” a dramatic film set in London, bombed by Germany in WWII, is currently in post-production. It stars Saoirse Ronan and Harris Dickinson and will premiere on Apple TV+. “Occupied City” is a more than four-hour documentary focusing on the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, coupled with images of the city during a coronavirus-impacted year.

2nd Annual Academy Museum Gala - Arrivals
Steve McQueen attends the “2nd Annual Academy Museum Gala” on Oct. 15, 2022, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“Occupied City” is based on an illustrated book written by McQueen’s partner, Bianca Stigter, titled “Atlas of an Occupied City (Amsterdam 1940–1945).” The documentary is narrated, featuring no archival footage or on-camera interviews. McQueen, who lives in Amsterdam with Stigter and their children, mentioned how much he thought about how the city previously was during WWII.

“You would go downtown and see a little engraving at the side of a building and go, ‘Oh, what’s that?’, and someone tells you that’s where 50 people were rounded up, shot, and killed because someone executed a German soldier,” McQueen said. “So, immediately, you’re taken out of your comfort zone and confronted with the past within the presence of the city.”

McQueen said doing two film projects about WWII in such close proximity was different from his original intention. However, “you plant seeds, and some come to fruition, and others don’t,” McQueen explained. “These two happened to blossom fairly close to each other.”

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