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Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead on the challenges of filming during Covid

The actor stars in the new thriller Don’t Tell A Soul.


Fionn Whitehead (Ian West/PA)

Fionn Whitehead (Ian West/PA)

Fionn Whitehead (Ian West/PA)

Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead has described the challenges of filming during Covid but said it is a “small price to pay” to keep the industry alive.

The British actor, who first found fame in the lead role in Christopher Nolan’s war film and starred in the interactive episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch, currently stars in the thriller Don’t Tell A Soul, about two teenage brothers who steal thousands of dollars.

Throughout the pandemic he has filmed a number of projects including the upcoming Emily Bronte biopic Emily, opposite Sex Education star Emma Mackey, in which he plays Bronte’s brother Branwell.

He told the PA news agency: “I have filmed a fair amount, I’ve been quite lucky.

“It’s changed so much, the landscape of filming at the moment is just so confusing.

“Everyone’s getting tested very regularly and no-one’s allowed to touch on set, and they’re wearing masks.

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“It is such a difference to what filming was like before. Before you really became like a little family and everyone’s really close and you hug and talk to people and you can see people’s facial expressions.


Fionn Whitehead at the premiere of Dunkirk (Ian West/PA)

Fionn Whitehead at the premiere of Dunkirk (Ian West/PA)


Fionn Whitehead at the premiere of Dunkirk (Ian West/PA)

“Now I find people coming up to me when we wrap to say “happy wrap” or seeing them in the hotel, and I wouldn’t recognise them without their masks, which is really bizarre thing after working with them for months.”

He added: “At the same time I’d do much more than that to be able to keep working. It’s a small, small price to pay to be able to keep filming and to keep the industry alive, which should really be everyone’s primary focus at the moment.

“So even if you have to wear masks and do things that are slightly inconvenient for you, on the whole we’ve got it pretty good, and we’re able to do something we love and make films when a lot of people around the world are in much worse situations.”

Discussing his dark role in Don’t Tell A Soul, in which he plays the brutish older brother who bullies his sibling and their mother, he said: “Villains are always just so much fun to play, because you get to make choices that you just wouldn’t be able to make with other characters and go so much further.

“So it’s definitely a different role to play. I got hooked and ended up playing a couple of villains after that, which was good fun.

“It’s always interesting to strip a character down to his core and sort of build it up and totally give in to the sort of evil nature of it.”

He continued: “I’ve always loved playing characters which have an edge of villainy, and I think I’ve done a few roles now that kind of leaned much more into that.

“I think it’s just interesting to think about what pushes a character to that point. I’m quite a big believer in the fact that kind of anger and aggression and violence really only comes from a place of pain.”

Don’t Tell A Soul is out now on digital download.

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