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In this interview, conducted in a Santa Monica airport hangar for the Herald, I chat to master filmmaker Christopher Nolan and master pop star Harry Styles about their new World War II film.

In a blockbuster season dominated by brightly colored superheroes and giant robots, Dunkirk stands alone. Although undeniably epic, this true World War II story concerns an evacuation rather than a battle, and is fronted by mostly fresh faces.

In anyone else’s hands, it might’ve been a tough sell. But Christopher Nolan is no ordinary director. Plus, he has some help from a certain tousle-haired pop star. But more on Harry Styles’ film debut a bit later.

As modern cinema’s boldest blockbuster filmmaker, Nolan (Inception, Interstellar, the Dark Knight trilogy) has always marched to the beat of his own drum.

“I think with every blockbuster we’ve done, if you look too much at what’s around you, it’s frightening because you realize you are trying to do something different,” Nolan tells TimeOut in Los Angeles. “You want to have blinders on a little bit, you run your own race. I’ve come to have faith that an audience judges a film on its own terms. I don’t think we sit there going ‘Hey, how come there aren’t any giant robots?’”