Actor, Theatre Director and Playwright
Oscar and BAFTA winning star with recent roles including Dunkirk, Bridge of Spies, The BFG and Wolf Hall. He was knighted for services to theatre in 2017.
Statement from August 2017
During the filming of Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk, I was at times at sea a few hundred yards off the actual beach of Dunkirk. I was very aware that we were reenacting a real and horrific tragedy for tens of thousands of brave young men who never made it home but died and fell to their resting places in the sand beneath our little boats. The memory of their all too brief lives was almost palpable in the shallow waters surrounding the beach of Dunkirk.
I wondered what the outcry would be in England if it was announced that France was going to dredge the sands of Dunkirk to make concrete and other construction products. Outrage I imagine.
Yet, here we are still fighting to defend the last resting place of many such brave young men who perished off the coast of Dover. I have to ask, What is the problem with us, that we are so disrespectful of these honourable souls who perished in the English channel defending the rest of us from fascism? Who is responsible for this insulting ongoing enquiry? Let it conclude as soon as possible and let there be apologies from all involved for the poor behaviour towards our fallen youth.
Statement from July 2016
Dunkirk, BFG and Wolf Hall star Mr Rylance, who was born in Ashford, said:
My great-grandfather was a resident of Dover. He was the captain of a cross-Channel ferry.
On one occasion he even sailed the king across the channel. My grandmother grew up in Dover.
I am sure they would have supported the campaign to save the Goodwin Sands from dredging for all the very good reasons that the campaign has argued. I support it too.
It is particularly important today that we honour our past and ancestors as part of what we truly are now.
We are an island and our coast and shore is as important an aspect of our landscape as any green field or hill. Would they dredge an ancient graveyard or battlefield?
Our historical relationship with ships and the wide oceans of the world is a vital part of our culture and our connection to so many other different cultures.
Extract from http://www.kentonline.co.uk/deal/news/goodwin-sands-campaign-gains-momentum-98945/ 14th July 2016.