Interstellar McConaughey Nolan

There’s no question that Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar is fictional, but how fictional is it? That’s been one of the points of debate surrounding the sci-fi epic, with people like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson weighing on the plausibility of its science.

For his part, though, Nolan himself doesn’t seem at all bothered by the criticism. He says he’s “fine” with his films being held to “a weirdly high standard,” and points out the obvious fact that “much of it is speculation.” Hit the jump to Nolan’s comments on the science of Interstellar.

Nolan definitely made an effort to make the science of Interstellar seem real and plausible, going as far as to invite physicist Kip Thorne on board as a consultant and executive producer. Still, his priority is telling a story, not teaching scientific facts. He readily admits there are some “cheats.” He told the Daily Beast:

My films are always held to a weirdly high standard for those issues that isn’t applied to everybody else’s films—which I’m fine with. People are always accusing my films of having plot holes, and I’m very aware of the plot holes in my films and very aware of when people spot them, but they generally don’t.

He continued:

Those issues are all buttoned-up, and Kip has a book on the science of the film about what’s real, and what’s speculation—because much of it is, of course, speculation. There have been a bunch of knee-jerk tweets by people who’ve only seen the film once, but to really take on the science of the film, you’re going to need to sit down with the film for a bit and probably also read Kip’s book. I know where we cheated in the way you have to cheat in movies, and I’ve made Kip aware of those things.

It’s nice to see Nolan taking the Interstellar criticism in stride. If anything, he should be flattered that people are so determined to pick apart the science of Interstellar. As with Gravity last year, Interstellar is only getting scrutinized this closely because it seems surprisingly plausible and realistic. You don’t see people debating the odds of a sentient tree and a talking raccoon teaming up to fight evil aliens, after all.

And while Nolan’s Interstellar may not be entirely accurate, it’s fantastic that it’s getting people curious about the real theories behind it. One of the themes of Interstellar was the importance of space exploration. By sparking such a lively debate among serious scientists and ordinary moviegoers alike, Nolan is doing his part to make sure the depressing, conspiracy-theory-laden, anti-NASA future envisioned in his movie never comes to pass.

For a more detailed account of the science of Interstellar, check out the book by Thorne that Nolan mentions.

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