interstellar script differences steven spielberg christopher nolan and jonathan nolan

You can now see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar in theaters, but the movie was originally developed by Nolan’s brother Jonathan Nolan for director Steven Spielberg. In fact, I first reported on the project almost eight and a half years ago. As the story goes, Spielberg got the idea for the film after attending a Caltech workshop. There, physicist Kip S. Thorne, an expert on relativity known for his prolific contributions to the fields of gravitation physics and astrophysics, presented his controversial theories about wormholes. Jonathan Nolan was hired to develop the screenplay for Spielberg, which he originally hoped to direct after Lincoln. Of course, that didn’t happen. Christopher Nolan explained how he got involved during a press conference I attended in Beverly Hills:

[I] was talking to Jonah [Nolan] about the script he was working on with Steven Spielberg at the time. We’d bounce ideas off each other and it sounded incredibly exciting … I had the advantage of coming onto the project late and being able to look at what these guys [Jonah Nolan and Kip Thorne] had done. A lot of my contribution was ripping things out, because they put in more of these incredible mind blowing ideas that, I felt, I could absorb as an audience member. So I spent my time and my work on the script choosing the more emotive and tactile of these ideas to grab ahold of. … [Jonah] got very busy doing other things so I said, ‘Hey can I take this and combine it with some other ideas I’ve been working on’ — it was a bit more like him going ‘okay, take a shot, we’ll see what you do.’ So I showed him what I had done and he seemed reasonably happy with it.

The reason Christopher Nolan shares the screenwriting credit on the final film with Jonathan Nolan is because he reworked the original script with substantial changes. This left me wondering about the evolution of the project, and how different Steven Spielberg’s version of the film might have looked. Of course, we’ll never see Spielberg’s version but Jonathan Nolan’s 2008 draft of the screenplay has been floating around the tracking boards for some time. Investigating that draft gives us an opportunity to see how the story changed from when Jonathan Nolan was working on it under Spielberg to Christopher Nolan’s final film.

What are the biggest differences and changes? Find out the 15 biggest Interstellar script differences, after the jump.

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‘Interstellar’ – What Did You Think?

Interstellar

There’s a moment in Inception when one character encourages another to “dream a little bigger, darling.” Well, it certainly looks like Nolan took that advice to heart with Interstellar. Nolan’s first post-Batman movie is stunningly ambitious, even by his usual bold standards.

Matthew McConaughey leads the sci-fi epic as an astronaut who travels deep into space in a last-ditch effort to save the human race. That includes his beloved kids Murph and Tom, whom he has to leave behind on their dying farm. Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi play the other astronauts on the journey with him. Michael Caine is the NASA guy leading the charge down on Earth.

Interstellar is a mind-bender of a journey that makes most of Nolan’s other films look tame in comparison. He clearly has big things to say about the importance of science, the experience of parenthood, the nature of humanity and the value of love. That last bit turns out to be especially unusual, since Nolan tends to be a cerebral, even chilly director. Emotions are not thought to be his strong suit, at least on film.

So there’s no question Nolan is aiming high. But does he hit his mark? This is your space to discuss all that and more. Spoilers are not just tolerated but actively encouraged.

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final interstellar trailer

There’s no denying the visceral power and prowess of Christopher Nolan‘s Intersellar. The ninth film from the popular director is his most ambitious, and it looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The sets, miniatures, and images of space travel and planets all combine to make a film the scope of which rivals any other space movie.

Emotionally, the film comes close to achieving a similarly momentous effect. Interstellar follows Coop (Matthew McConaughey), a father forced to leave his family in a possibly mad attempt to preserve the future of humanity by finding another habitable planet. The tale is filled with drama, humor, intense action and surprising plot twists. There’s rarely a dull moment in the movie because the story is so compelling and poignant.

But maybe it’s all a bit too much. The script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, packs ideas and theories in every single scene. Concepts about love, survival, physics, and time burst from the film more prominently than the emotion and visuals. Even with a nearly three-hour runtime, so many ideas are presented that the film rarely has time to focus on one over another. The result is a technical marvel with a powerful narrative that ends up feeling a tad empty because we aren’t sure exactly which point it’s trying to make. Read More »

Selma trailer

In the US we’ve just seen the sad turnout for a midterm election in which the under-30 crowd accounted for only 13% of voter turnout, and the 30-44 age group was only another 22%. The 45-64 year olds turned out in far greater numbers — more of that age range than of everyone younger combined. Naturally, election results swing to the interests of that one voting bloc, and that bloc does not have the interests of everyone in mind.

So it’s a good time to be reminded that some voting rights were hard-won and should be used, no matter how cynical one may be about the process. (I speak as someone who is very cynical about the process.) In Selma, David Oyelowo plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film follows the assassinated civil rights leader’s organization of three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, meant to protest unjust voting restrictions. Like other Civil Rights Movement actions, these marches faced violent opposition, but also raised awareness of the inequality suffered by African-Americans. Watch the first Selma trailer below.

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Jonathan Nolan

A couple weeks back I got a chance to talk to Jonathan Nolan, the brother of filmmaker Christopher Nolan and co-screenwriter of Interstellar. Jonah started developing Interstellar as a project for Steven Spielberg to direct, before getting sucked into the television world showrunning Person Of Interest for Bad Robot. Jonathan has also been making the transition into directing, helming the pilot of the HBO/Bad Robot television adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Westworld (which we talk about briefly). Read all this and more in our Jonathan Nolan interstellar interview, after the jump.

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Interstellar McConaughey car

Christopher Nolan controls every single aspect of his movies from preproduction through publicity. He wants every single thing about his film to be handled just right, from something as important as the IMAX film capture all the way through to who writes about the movie before release. Recently, multiple reports said he personally went to numerous theaters that would be screening his latest film, Interstellar, to double- and triple-check the sound and picture quality. That’s a comforting fact, to know that he’s out there making sure things look and sound great.

Much less comforting is the buzz coming out of those screenings. From the first press screenings through opening night, fans have been complaining about issues with the film’s sound mix. Reports say multiple scenes have the music and sound effects so loud that dialogue is drowned out. This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. It’s a complaint that’s been registered all over the US, Europe, and Canada.

Below, we’ll present some of those reactions, some of the stories, and some of the explanations hoping to get to the bottom of these possible Interstellar sound issues.  Read More »

‘The Gambler’ Trailer: Mark Wahlberg Bets it All

The Gambler trailer

Has Mark Wahlberg found one of his defining roles in The Gambler? Working with director Rupert Wyatt to remake the 1974 film in which James Cann played a college professor with a big gambling addiction, Wahlberg looks more dialed-in to a role than he has in quite some time. The first red-band trailer/clip from the film was compelling, as it showed us a tense conversation between Wahlberg’s cash-poor gambler and a loan shark played by John Goodman. In this Gambler trailer, we see a lot more of the characters played by Jessica Lange, Michael K. Williams and Brie Larson, and in particular we get to see Wahlberg looking like he coolly owns this role. Read More »

Interstellar header

If your local theater has a film projector, it’s likely you can see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar beginning on Wednesday, two days before the rest of the country. It was the famously old school director’s way to paying respects to the past, and also letting people know his preferred format: film. The problem is, over the past few years, almost every theater in the country has begun to transition to digital projection. Digital is cheaper to distribute, easier to handle, and is not subject to the same sort of handling damage that can mar film prints.

The final numbers have been released and the number of theaters opening Interstellar on film versus on digital (with the digital rollout taking place on Friday) is pretty staggering. The numbers for Interstellar film theaters are below. Read More »

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