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 Timeline Chart

/Film reader and artist Dogan Can Gundogdu created an infographic which visually explains the timeline of Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar. While I’m not sure Interstellar needs a chart explaining the chronology of the story like Nolan’s earlier film Memento, that didn’t stop many artists from creating such infographics to explain the tired levels of Inception — which I still think is very easy to understand without additional aids. Gundogdu’s Interstellar Timeline is a well designed beautiful flowchart explaining how everything went down, taking into consideration Einstein’s theory of relativity and space-time distortion. Hit the jump now to check out Dogan Can Gundogdu’s Interstellar time-line for yourself.

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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 »

Inception

In honor of the release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar this week, I’ve been working on a musical project for the past few months: Attempting to perform the final music track from Inception (“Time” by Hans Zimmer) using a single, looping cello. I’ve been re-discovering my love for the cello recently, and by incorporating an electric pickup and a looping pedal, I have tried to create large-scale sounds using repeating chords on a single instrument.

Hit the jump to see a music video of “Time” performed using a single cello.
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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 »

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Interstellar Nolan cockpit

“I think audiences get too comfortable and familiar in today’s movies,” said writer/director Christopher Nolan in 2002. “They believe everything they’re hearing and seeing. I like to shake that up.”

In nine films, Nolan has crafted a mathematician’s approach to luring audiences into realities only to question their very makeup. The films invariably follow similar characters: white guys of middle-age who have been deprived of family by violent means. These men deny truths about themselves and/or struggle to connect with the people closest to them. The term “auteur” is debased and often justly dismissed, but Nolan is one of the few who might earn the term — and even then there are big influences to factor in, such as his brother Jonathan Nolan, working partners David Goyer and Wally Pfister, and most importantly his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas.

On the eve of the release of Nolan’s latest film Interstellar, we’ve taken a look at it along with the other eight feature films that make up the bulk of his work. Read on for one examination of the films and find out how Christopher Nolan films ranked amongst his filmography.

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Christopher Nolan

As much as Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy helped set the tone for the modern superhero movie, Marvel Studios created the structure for the modern superhero franchise. Specifically the idea of a huge, shared story told over multiple films. It’s not a new idea, obviously, but the particular way Marvel did it on the big screen was. The fact the MCU is still going after six years, and will continue to soldier on, is super-impressive and a testament to Marvel’s success.

One of the biggest tools Marvel uses for this is the post-credits sequence. A scene tangentially related to the movie you just watched, placed in the credits to tease what’s coming next. It’s become a staple of their brand and is mimicked pretty regularly. (Marvel didn’t come up with that, either, but the studio redefined the use of the post-credits stinger.)

One place it hasn’t been mimicked is the new slate of DC Comics movies. Granted, we’ve only seen one so far, but why is that? Well, Warner Bros. asked Nolan, a producer on Man of Steel, about adding one. He said “A real movie wouldn’t do that.” But did he mean that as a blanket statement? Maybe not. Read more about Christopher nolan and credits scenes below.

UPDATE: Nolan has now responded to these comments. 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 »