We may have gotten a teaser trailer for “Interstellar” late last year, and the film’s set to come out in just over seven months, but director Christopher Nolan still refuses to give too much away about the movie. He talked with theater owners and exhibitors at a special luncheon in his honor at this year’s Cinemacon in Las Vegas. Naturally, many questions were asked about the film, and while Nolan did talk in detail about the performances of Michael Caine and Matthew McConaughey, he would otherwise only reveal tidbits about the film here and there.
First, as far as the film’s plot is concerned, Nolan was only willing to confirm that it was “about wormhole travel to other places you couldn't reach through travel through space.” He also said that the tone of “Interstellar” will be very different from the tone of his previous movies. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne has been heavily involved in the project as an executive producer and Nolan describes Thorne as “an incredible ally” who’s been involved from the very beginning.
Nolan also revealed that a large amount of “Interstellar” was shot with IMAX cameras and that he wanted to avoid CGI as much as possible, which meant having the actors perform on real set pieces in practical locations. Says Nolan, "One thing I am happy to talk about briefly; we have spaceship interiors in the film. We wanted to have the real environments the actors were going to be seeing out the windows. We built closed sets of the scale that these ships would be at, we put the reality outside for the actors so we could shoot it like a documentary, like you were really there. I think it paid huge dividends for the actors in terms of performance and being able to understand what we were doing.”
And it might pay off dividends for audiences too, with Nolan promising a visual and aural experience. “We shot quite a lot of the film in IMAX, more than we had ever done in the past. There will be some really beautiful IMAX film prints that will be in certain key locations. And we are really maximizing the various technical capabilities out there, particularly in the sound mix. We have very ambitious plans in how we are going to take a very big approach as to how we maximize the potential of the existing sound system in theaters," he said. "Really what we are attempting to do is give audiences a better experience, an immersive experience. We are looking to theater owners to really transport us and give us the best they can in how we get that out to the public. As they say, the projectionist has the final cut. I really think on this film the technical aspect of how this film is presented is really going to be more important than on any film I’ve done before, so that means getting into partnership with the studios and theaters.”
Returning to performances, while Nolan playfully admitted that Michael Caine is essentially his “lucky charm,” he also explained why he likes putting Caine in all of his movies: "I cast him in films just to have as an example to everyone else, 'If we all work this hard and this well, it's all going to be fine.”
And, further proving that the actor cannot be stopped right now, Nolan had nothing but positive things to say about his lead actor Matthew McConaughey. As he explains it: “I needed someone who is very much an everyman, very much somebody who the audience can experience the story with and be right there beside him experiencing these extraordinary events in the film, seeing them through his eyes, someone very relatable. I think Matthew has those qualities in spades and he's just a phenomenal charismatic presence in the movie. The performance is shaping up to be something really extraordinary I'm very very excited about.”
As for Nolan's comments on 3D, they're not surprise given his thoughts on the technology in the past. He praised Baz Luhrmann's “The Great Gatsby” but said, “Just as stadium seating isn’t the best thing for a comedy, 3D isn’t the best for a shared audience.”
So why was there no footage of “Interstellar” shown at Cinemacon? Well, the film is still in the very early stages of post-production, a process that Nolan said he really enjoys. So, basically, those who have been following the production of the film very closely have not really learned anything new, but if you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, would you have it any other way? Hopefully we’ll at least get a full theatrical trailer of the film as early as this summer. At least give us that much, Mr. Nolan.