Christopher Nolan Explains PG-13 Rating For 'Dunkirk,' Denies Crashing $5 Million Plane

This summer, Christopher Nolan is tackling WWII in “Dunkirk,” bringing his blockbuster touch to a gripping, real life story. But where contemporary cinema has approached the era with gritty, violent, often R-rated realism, Nolan’s film will be coming to cinemas with a PG-13 rating. So why the “softer” approach? As the director explains, his movie is more about thrills than carnage.

“All of my big blockbuster films have been PG-13. It’s a rating I feel comfortable working with totally. ‘Dunkirk’ is not a war film. It’s a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film,” he told Associated Press (via ABC News). “So while there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films. We were really trying to take a different approach and achieve intensity in a different way. I would really like lots of different types of people to get something out of the experience.”

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how death is depicted in Nolan’s film, which will tell the wartime story from a triad of perspectives: land, sea, and air.

Shot in IMAX, the film is being realized on a grand scale, leading to rumors last summer that Nolan crashed an actual, $5 million WWII plane for his movie. It’s a fun thought, but not true.

“We used real antique vintage planes and flew them for the movie but we also constructed full scale models to destroy. A lot of money was involved but not that much money. I would never!” he said. “Obviously never … These planes are so beautiful and so valuable for so many reasons and the respect I have for them having done this, especially now having worked with them. The Spitfire is the most glorious machine.”

“Dunkirk” opens on July 21st.