Allied teaser trailer

There a few scenes in Allied we haven’t seen in recent history I’d like to ask you about. For starters, how did Marianne giving birth during the air raid come about? 

As you go through writing the script you have these … Not a problem, but you have, okay, this has got to be done. You’ve got to get from wedding to them waking up with a baby. What happens in between?

Well, she’s got to have the baby. It’s wartime, so you could just see her giving birth but then … The hospital in Hampstead was bombed, so why not have that? It’s an air raid and it’s a birth, and it’s everything. Just bring it all in because that’s what’s great about having a bigger budget. You know you can do that and with Bob Zemeckis executing it’s going to look incredible.

I mean, [it’s about] finding those moments to it. Then once you’ve got that you can have that line where she says, “This is me,” so that you can start to think, “What did she mean by that? Of course, it’s you, but what did she mean?”

Yeah, those set pieces and similarly when the plane crashes, they’re together, and they look at each other. You’ve got this dilemma. You’ve got this problem between the two. They don’t know… He doesn’t know who she is. To bring that out it’s got to be moments of near death or birth, so that’s when you can have those big set pieces. Being in the second World War means that you can be in London and suddenly there’s an air raid.

The scene where Max goes to see Matthew Goode’s character. The exchange reminds you this is wartime and far worse things are happening. What do you recall about writing that interaction?  

In doing some research about the SOE, the incredible bravery of the people who used to fly every night from airfields in southern England into France, which was occupied by the Germans. They got shot up, and they got wounded, and they got killed.

Just for Max the problem now is his issue with Marianne, but other people are suffering terrible things as well. To not reflect that would be a mistake I think. The hospital where he goes, I read up a bit about it. The people there were horrifically injured and traumatized, so I just wanted to get some of that flavor into it as well.

How about when we see SOE official is hiding a gun during his meeting with Max? 

It’s just you think to yourself, “Well.” That conversation took the longest to write because there’s a lot in there and it’s a small room. You’re breaking that sort of news to someone who’s trained to kill people, and they were. The SOE people were trained. They’d go up to the place in Scotland, a castle in Scotland, where there was this incredible martial arts teacher who taught everyone how to kill with their bare hands in like, five seconds.

They could kill anyone because they knew these techniques. There were stories of people who were traumatized, came back, knew these techniques, and would certainly find themselves using them without meaning to. There was a lot of that going on. I wanted the idea that here is this trained killer who could at any moment explode, which is why he’s got the gun.

The party scene in Allied is wilder than you’d expect. Did you base that off any findings in your research? 

Yeah. I was reading about London, and particularly Hampstead, in the war where anything goes. The bombs were dropping, so everyone knew they could be dead tomorrow. I read some great research stories. A fireman in Hampstead who said there was an air raid going on and there was a fire, so they bashed down a door. They went through the door, and there’s an orgy going on in this living room as he walks through with his hose, and they’re carrying on. There are all these couples having sex and he’s just walking through and then just puts the fire out.

It was just mad. Everybody’s drinking and cocaine and all that. The image that we have of ourselves in Britain is that in the second World War it was all keep calm and carry on. Everybody did stick together, and it was great, and there was great morale, but there was also this hedonism.

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