Amid the flurry of studio presentations at CinemaCon 2014 in Las Vegas, The Hollywood Reporter hosted a luncheon interview with Christopher Nolan in the style of Inside the Actors Studio, with film critic Todd McCarthy peppering the filmmaker with questions. However, when it came to the topic of his upcoming wormhole opus Interstellar, Nolan was a man of few words.
What did we learn about Interstellar? Matthew McConaughey was cast because Nolan felt he was perfect for portraying “very much an everyman experiencing extraordinary events.” Saying the actor’s “performance is shaping up to be extraordinary,” Nolan revealed that McConaughey caught his eye in an early screener for Mud.
The director said Interstellar will contain “fanciful environments in the same vein of Dark Knight or Inception,” but that he prefers to shoot in practical locations for more immersive surroundings that feel like a documentary.
Reminiscing about early childhood memories of Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Nolan said that he grew up in the golden age of blockbusters, when movies “took you places where you hadn’t otherwise gone.” He hopes Interstellar will do the same. He also said the film will “give the audience an immersive experience,” and that “the technical aspects are more important than any other film he’s worked with.”
In terms of general filmmaking, Nolan remains an unabashed supporter of 35mm and prefers celluloid to digital. However, he doesn’t hold onto the approach simply out of a sense of nostalgia, as “film remains the best way to capture and project images”; he believes “the resolution and contrast ratios [for digital] have to get better.”
He also said he thinks “human perception, and the ability to see tricks, evolves,” so technical innovation needs to continue — although it’s not one-size-fits-all, as “stadium seating isn’t the best for comedies and 3D isn’t always the best for the shared audience experience.”
Nolan reflected on how lucky he has been to work with such a high caliber of actors, and how he has “always gone after people who seemed to be the most talented.” That led to a dilemma during this year’s Oscars, when McConaughey, Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio were all nominated for Best Actor.
“I knew the odds were someone I worked with would win,” he mused. “Three out of five, actually.”
And who’s the one actor you can expect to see in future Nolan movies, including Intersellar? That would be Michael Caine, who made the director “feel incredibly at ease on Batman Begins.” Recalling that Caine joked “He’s my lucky charm,“ Nolan said, “Once an actor gets that in your head you have to cast him.”