Bale. DiCaprio. McConaughey. And now, Fionn Whitehead.
The 19-year-old Brit (whose Irish first name is pronounced “Finn”) joins elite ranks as the lead actor in a Christopher Nolan joint, headlining the acclaimed filmmaker’s upcoming ensemble war, Dunkirk.
At this point Whitehead doesn’t have clearance to say anything about his character, Tommy. But if you happened to catch the intense seven-minute tease Warner Bros. unspooled on Imax screens in front of Rogue One, you’ll recognize him as one of the two poor chaps charged with hauling a stretcher over a decimated dock as enemy warplanes whiz by overhead. (While plot details on the film are also scant, we have WWII history to tell us the film is about the 1940 rescue of Allied soldiers cornered by the German army on a French beach.)
“It’s a suspense thriller,” Whitehead told Yahoo Movies. “It takes you there and you see this world through my character’s eyes and ears. And it kind of explores what it would’ve been like to be there at that time, on sea, land, and air. It’s all about survival, and the human urge to survive.” Whitehead was in Los Angeles this week where we got to know the fresh-faced star of Nolan’s fiercely intense-looking battle film. Here’s what we learned:
Dunkirk will mark Whitehead’s movie debut. The actor, who grew up in an artistic household (his dad is jazz musician Tim Whitehead) on the southwest edge of London in Richmond, performed on stage at the National Youth Theatre and Orange Tree Theatre, and was in the process of applying to drama school when he booked the lead role in Him, a three-part U.K. miniseries about a teen with supernatural powers. The casting director for Him referred Whitehead to agent Sophie Holden, who put him in contention for Dunkirk.
His hair almost got in the way of his dream role. Whitehead auditioned for Dunkirk over an extensive three-month period, with Nolan present at every tryout after the first. “For Him, they made me grow my hair out, and then they’d straighten it out every day because I’ve got quite curly hair when it grows out,” Whitehead explained. “And I remember turning up to do one of these auditions and I had this straight long hair, it just looked so ridiculous. And they’re like, ‘Um, Chris has asked if you could push your hair out of your face this audition.’ So they gave me a tub of wax and I’m slicking my hair out of my face in this ridiculous fashion.”
He was put through the ringer before production even started. “I was quite scrawny when I started out, so they saw that and realized that they might injure me in the whole process of shooting,” Whitehead laughed. So the upstart was dispatched to Dunkirk (where the majority of filming would be completed on location) two weeks early to work with the stunt team. Along with costars Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard, Whitehead was put through a boot camp of sorts. “I did a lot of circuit training, did a little bit of boxing, did some weapons training. Then I went to the beaches and I was swimming in full war gear, which once it got waterlogged was about 60, 80 pounds. Running up the beach with stretchers with weighted dummies on them. It was quite a lot.”
Speaking of Mr. Styles… The One Direction singer also makes his film debut in Dunkirk, and Whitehead had nothing but props for the pop star-turned-actor. “He’s a lovely guy. Really hard working. There was no preferential treatment, and he didn’t ask for any. He was just a great asset to the team, one of the crew, no differentiation.”
The grueling shoot put things in perspective for the young actors. “Physically it was quite demanding,” Whitehead said of the five-month production. “So the toughest part was just keeping the energy up. Every night, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out… But that made it easier to step into the shoes of these people, knowing what they had to deal with and how they kept going.” Despite somber subject material, the cast tried to keep things light by riding bikes around set and playing the occasional game of rugby. They also learned quickly, though, not to pull any woe-is-me moves. “Any time any of us complained, somebody would say, ‘Well, at least you’re not actually there.’ And then everyone would feel so guilty and be like, ‘Oh yeah, sorry. I’m just going to crawl into a hole.'”
Whitehead abstained from fanning out over Nolan. Make no mistake, the actor was over the moon to work with the director of Memento, the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar. “He’s so present as a director,” Whitehead said. “He’s behind every shot and he creates this family-like vibe on set which really puts you at ease. It’s a very collaborative environment. I was quite apprehensive going in but that was gone straightaway because you’re in this safe space where you feel comfortable to try different things, and encouraged.” But he made it a point not to geek out over the filmmaker. “Nah, I kept it in,” he said. “I tried to play it cool.”
Smelling even worse than I look after those circuits. Husband and I took a leisurely walk this morning through the neighborhood. I’m excited to be in week 4. I feel stronger each time I revisit an exercise. Week 3 was a terrible week for eating habits, but week 4 needs to be better. I have problems digesting fat so I usually eat a lot more carbs, whereas I could eat protein rich foods instead. So I gotta work on that.
Physique update. I said I’d include workouts in my captions so here’s a circuit for you to try.
12 reps per exercise for 3-4 sets:
1. Barbell squat into ¾ squat (I use 90lb)
2. Single leg hinge holding a kettlebell (I use 20-25lb) with upright row at the top of the movement
3. Leg raise with weighted fly (I use two 12lb dumbbells)
Hey TGIM right? Yep Monday is just another day for us to do what we do. I hope everyone had a great Easter and rest day! We are jumping right back in, and it’s getting more challenging, but we got this!!! So let’s handle it!
Tag #JeanteFit and help me spread the word peeps. I appreciate it mucho. Motivate yourself to give a little more! Hit me up and let me know how you’re doing, or if you have any questions.
Warm Up: 20 high knees, 20 jumping jacks 20 high knees
20 crunches with alternating twist at the top (essentially 10 each side)
12 squat jumps
20 side plank dips (10 each side)
12 moving planks (plank position and move shoulders forward over hands and back)
30 sec wall sit
8 push ups
****************Grab some water. Mentally prepare. It’s double time*************
40 crunches with alternating twist at the top (essentially 20 each side)
24 squat jumps
40 side plank dips (20 each side)
24 moving planks (plank position and move shoulders forward over hands and back)
1 min wall sit
16 push ups
24 burpees (YOU CAN DO IT… you know who you are.. LOL)
****BANG FOR YOUR BUCK REP…. (MOTIVATE YOURSELF TOREPEAT ONE EXERCISE FROM THE SECOND SET TO ACTUALLY COMPLETE THE DAY* I know you can do it. Motivate YOURSELF to get it DONE!!
Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther: The king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Producer Kevin Feige described the character as “a bit of a prince, he may even become a bit of a king, but it’s all about how this isolationist country [of Wakanda] meets the world." Screenwriter Joe Robert Cole added that after the events of Captain America: Civil War and the death of his father, ”…we’ll be able to see [T'Challa] mourning and him starting to take command as king of his own nation.“ Boseman, who called T'Challa an anti-hero, said that he is "very much aware of the responsibility” and “how important his role and his position is” as the leader of Wakanda. He worked with the same dialect coach he had during Message from the King for the film. Boseman signed a five-film contract with Marvel.
Danai Gurira as Okoye: The head of the Dora Milaje. When looking to cast Gurira, director Ryan Coogler had not seen The Walking Dead, in which Gurira portrays the popular character Michonne, and instead wanted her for the part because of her performance in Mother of George. Gurira said that the fighting skills she learned playing Michonne complemented the skills of Okoye, but that “there’s a lot of ways that they’re extremely different … Okoye is a whole ‘nother thing.”
Angela Bassett as Ramonda: T'Challa’s mother. Calliet also served as Bassett’s trainer, working with her before she began filming and while she was on set, and helped to craft her diet. He created high-intensity interval training circuits for Bassett focused on her lower body, as they are “the fastest and the most effective way to burn fat”, which consisted of mountain climbers, jump squats, lunges, push-ups and high knees, in intervals of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, up to an hour at a time.
Forest Whitaker as Zuri: An elder statesman in Wakanda. Coogler noted that Zuri was a religious and spiritual figure, and was a way to reference the spirituality within Wakanda from the comics. He also added that Zuri “is a major tie back” to T'Chaka for T'Challa, and felt Zuri was “Black Panther’s version of Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue: A black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster working out of South Africa, that uses a piece of advanced Wakandan mining equipment as an arm-cannon.
Additionally, Florence Kasumba and John Kani reprise their roles as Ayo and T'Chaka respectively from Captain America: Civil War. Winston Duke is cast as M'Baku / Man-Ape, the leader of a rival Wakandan tribe, while Sterling K. Brown is cast as N'Jobu, a figure from T'Challa’s past, Isaach de Bankolé is cast as the elder of one of the largest tribes in Wakanda, and Letitia Wright is cast as Shuri, T'Challa’s sister and the princess of Wakanda who designs new technology for the country. Wright described her as “an innovative spirit and an innovative mind” who “wants to take Wakanda to a new place… [and] has a great fashion sense”. Wright also felt Shuri was “vibrant” and “refreshing”, and was a good role model for young black girls. Phylicia Rashad and Atandwa Kani have been cast in undisclosed roles
Black Panther is set to be released in the United States on February 16, 2018, in IMAX.
For those who can’t make it to the gym for whatever reason. Here is a quick beginner body weight workout that can be performed with no equipment and minimal space. These are all lower body exercises. This well help you strength, endurance and overall fitness. ENJOY!
Perform each exercise for 2-3 sets at 10-12reps with 60 seconds rest between sets.
Here is my home workout routine. I know a lot of trans guys want to work out but can’t go to a gym for various reasons and often feel discouraged so I thought I’d share what I do. If you don’t have dumbbells you can fill old milk jugs with water, sand, or gravel.
Circuit 1: Dynamic Stretches - Always warm up
Neck Rotation - 10 reps Shoulder Circles - 10 reps forward, 10 reps backwards Arm Swings - 10 reps forward, 10 reps backwards Side Bends - 10 reps each side Hips Circles - 10 reps Leg Swings - 10 reps each leg Double Leg Bounce - 10 reps
Circuit 2: HITT - Do all exercises back to back with no rest
Jumping Jacks: 30 Push Ups: 5 High Knees: 25 Burpees: 10 Crunches: 10 Squats: 10 Push ups: 5 Squats: 10 Jumping Jacks: 30 Wall Sit: 1 minute (break into shorter increments if necessary) High Knees: 25
Circuit 3: Weight Training - Complete 4 sets of 12 reps of each