Jonathan Nolan Reflects on Almost Making 'Interstellar' With Spielberg

As the latest project from acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is certainly as eagerly anticipated as they come. However, the sci-fi movie was almost directed by someone with an even more powerful Hollywood pedigree: Steven Spielberg.

At the Los Angeles premiere of Interstellar, Spinoff Online caught up with Nolan’s co-writer, his brother Jonathan Nolan, who was hired seven years ago by Paramount Pictures to flesh out the wormhole-driven concept producer Lynda Obst and physicist Kip Thorne had brought to Spielberg. The director developed the project until he was led away by shifting studio deals, leaving Christopher Nolan to step in and see the concept to fruition.

Jonathan briefly mused about the version of Interstellar that never was, and teased his upcoming remake of Westworld for HBO, overseen by another notoriously secretive filmmaker, J.J. Abrams.

Spinoff Online: What was the experience like for you when you were developing this with Steven Spielberg, and how was that going to be maybe a very different movie?

Jonathan Nolan: Oh, yeah. It's a pleasure working with Steven. He's a legendary filmmaker, and a lovely, brilliant guy. It was great fun working with him for several years developing the project, and the spirit of the project is largely the same. What's great about working with my brother is that he came armed to this with some of his own ideas that kind of mind-bending aspect of what might be out there beyond the infinite. So I think the spirit of the film is very similar, but Chris brings his own unique take on it. And my brother's commitment in making these films is always to make them on the largest possible scale, to make it real. There's a lot of versions of this film that might have been kind of an animated movie. But I'm drawn to working with filmmakers like Steven and like Chris who are committed to the odd fashioned art of movie making: go out and make it for real.

Next up for you is Westworld. I know that secrecy is of high priority to you Nolans, but what can you tease a little bit what your take on the material is?

Well, actually, my wife is my co producer on the film. The two of us, we love working with J.J. [Abrams] because his commitment to secrecy is almost as profound as my brother's! What I would say is that if Interstellar is my sort of, for me, a way of creating a sort of hymn to the human spirit, Westworld is potentially the opposite of that.

Opening today in select theaters and Friday nationwide, Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine.

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