Director Christopher Nolan is notorious for giving very little details about his films, but after releasing the first teaser trailer and talking about his new movie at a press conference in Las Vegas, the director gave away more secrets than he wanted for his new movie Interstellar. What fans of the prolific director knew of the movie before, was that it was about traveling through space and time, in wormholes. Besides that, very little was known, like most of his movies; before the Dark Knight came out, Nolan forced people to read the script in his offices so there were no ways for copies to get leaked, that is how secretive he likes his movies to be. But after the recent interview, fans have a better idea of what the movie will be about, such as, plot, locations, tone and the style, which is much more than he usually gives away.
World renowned scientist, and genius, Kip Throne, is an executive producer on the film. Originally Interstellar was going to be made by Stephen Spielberg and Jonathan Nolan, Chris’ brother, was set to write the script. Spielberg ended up backing out and Chris signed on to direct, keeping Kip Throne on as an EP. In an interview with Mr. Throne in 2007, when Spielberg was still scheduled to direct, he talked a little about the movie and said that the story is about the warped side of the Universe. He also said he was made an EP on the film to bring good science into it and make sure that everything is realistic and does not stray into the absurd. This should make Interstellar one of the most realistic time traveling movies to date. Last summer other details of the movie were released, saying the movie has to do with climate change. The world, apparently, can not grow enough crops because of the changing weather and scientists must leave the planet to find somewhere else to settle.
This past week the first teaser trailer for Interstellar came out. It was mostly stock footage of people settling west, a plane breaking the sound barrier, the first rocket shot into space and the moon landing. Matthew McConaughey stars in the movie and his voice presided over the teaser trailer. The VO basically said that man has always defined itself through its amazing accomplishments and overcoming the impossible. That we reached for the stars and our successes are our proudest moments, but we have stopped trying to achieve those great goals and forgotten that we are pioneers. The VO points to the reason why the movie revolves around traveling through wormholes. Also in the teaser is some footage of the film. It shows cornstalks blowing in the wind, McConaughey driving an old truck down a dirt road on his corn farm (apparently corn is the only crop that can be grown in the post global warming world) and a quick shot of what looks like a crop circle in the field of corn; a dark, burned, open circular patch is shown on fire and a man is in the middle of the charred circle, digging with a shovel. The end of the trailer shows a man and girl holding hands as a spaceship takes off in the distance and blasts into space. This leads fans to believing that a spaceship from another planet, or time, visits McConaughey’s farm on earth and takes him with them on a trip through the cosmos.
Nolan said in the interview that he wanted to make a movie that could stand with the great sci-fi movies he saw growing up. He noted both Star Wars for its cinematic perfection, as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those films were broad and universal, and Star Wars was also very family friendly. He discussed aspects of making the film, which give away more plot points. They built the spaceship’s interior, as well as the outside environments because he wanted to use as little CGI as possible. He also shot the movie in as many real places as he could, not settling for green screens. The quality of the film, the director said, will be much higher if the locations are real, explaining the characters will visit fanciful environments and felt actual location enhanced their performances. The crew strived to shoot the film like a documentary, so it was paramount for them to allow the actors to actually see the environment they are in and react to it. The film is also shot mostly in IMAX, but the director is sill not sold on 3D, so it will not be used. He did however say that Hans Zimmer, the film’s composer, scored the movie to maximize the potential of the sound system in IMAX theaters; Inception‘s soundtrack was epic, perhaps Interstellar will employ a double fog horn to set their tone. McConaughey’s character, Nolan said, is an everyman who the audience can experience what is going on with him; he will most likely ask the questions that the audience is thinking. So what does all this mean? It means after years of keeping his film’s secrets as close to the vest as possible, Christopher Nolan may have finally broken and revealed more than he intended on Interstellar.
The plot. What fans know is that the movie is about traveling through wormholes because man is destined to reach for the stars, and there is something wrong with the Earth. They will visit different planets to find suitable alternatives to Earth. This hints that through these travels, like in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the passengers of the spaceship will come in contact with other, more advanced life forms and civilizations. Star Wars comes is a factor as well because the space ship will travel through the worm hole, similar to light speed. Also, Star Wars exists in a world where there are many, many different types of life forms interacting, and traveling between planets is as easy as jumping on the subway to get downtown; as long as it is not rush hour.
Nolan said he wants Interstellar to give the audience an experience that sticks with you, long after leaving the theatre. The voiceover from the trailer suggests that our destiny is in the stars. As a society we have outgrown our planet, not only using up all the natural resources, but our technologies and advancements have brought us to a place where the human race must, and is cable of expanding outward. This is not to suggest Mars or Titan (one of the moons around Saturn), but to a place we can not reach through normal travel, hence, the need for a wormhole; think of a wormhole as a tunnel through space, like bending a piece of paper and instead of going around it, going through it. McConaughey, Ann Hathaway and Jessica Chastain are the top billed actors, but the film also features Michael Cain (a Nolan staple), John Lithgow, Topher Grace, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon and many other great actors. That makes too many actors to all be humans from Earth traveling on this one space ship (it would be too many characters to keep track of and clutter scenes), which suggests that those on the spaceship will come in contact with beings from other worlds that have similar, or the same, makeup of humans on Earth; there will also have to be some form of AI that the travelers come in contact with because, come on, it is a sci-fi movie, how could there not be? Christopher Nolan has also talked a lot about Terrence Malick lately, saying he is a big influence and he considers him one of the best directors of all time. That suggests the tone of Interstellar will be very different from the batman movies and his other work; more slow-moving and purposeful camera shots aimed at giving meaning behind their movements.
Interstellar is shaping up to becoming a cinematic masterpiece on a scale that has never been done before. Nolan reinvented the Batman franchise and influenced every super hero and action movie since. He expanded the size of a movie when he did Inception. From his early work on Memento to The Dark Knight Rises he has consistently displayed his innate ability to tell a story and write quality scripts. Nolan has conquered this world and set the bar for others to reach, now his sights are set on the stars. That too is where Interstellar is heading. Perhaps Christopher Nolan decided to reveal secrets of the movie because he is too excited to contain himself, maybe it was a mistake, or perhaps he did this because Interstellar is going to be a movie of such extreme size that giving away a few plot points is only the tip of the iceberg.
Opinion by Chris Dragicevich
The Washington Post