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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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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Casting Elliott in ET

I really love what The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences has been doing lately with their Academy Originals series of videos which take a look at the art and stories behind the making of the movies we love. The latest video features Casting director Marci Liroff (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mean Girls) recounting the story of how Henry Thomas was cast as the lead in Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

As it turns out, Thomas was not the first choice for the role of Elliot. Liroff describes how a game of Dungeons & Dragons at screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who is finally returning to screenwriting for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG) changed the corse of a cinema classic, leading to the audition video I’m sure you’ve seen before. Hit the jump to watch the video now.

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Daniel H. Wilson Offers a ‘Robopocalypse’ Update

Robopocalypse status

What’s up with the Steven Spielberg film Robopocalypse? At one point it was all set to be his next film, but that was back in 2012. The script was being developed by Spielberg and Drew Goddard as Daniel H. Wilson wrote his novel. Actors such as Chris Hemsworth, Anne Hathaway and Ben Whishaw were all said to be in line for roles in the film about — as the title implies — “a global war between man and machine.” But in early 2013 the film was pushed back to development status, with no indication of what the future might hold. Now there’s a small Robopocalypse status update from Wilson. Read More »

Mark Rylance BFG

Mark Rylance is known more for his work on stage than on screen — he’s won three Tonys, in addition to other major accolades — and has been called one of the finest Shakespearian actors of our time. (He has also participated in the call to reevaluate the true authorship of Shakespeare’s work, which explains how he ended up in Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, pictured above.)

Now Rylance is forging a solid relationship with Steven Spielberg. He is already playing a role in Spielberg’s Cold War thriller starring Tom Hanks, which has been shooting over the past month. Now Spielberg has cast Rylance as the title character in his Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG. That means that Rylance, a giant on stage, will soon portray a giant on screen.  Read More »

Matt Ryan Tobin Halloween

James Cameron, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan & Steven Spielberg. You’d be hard pressed to come up with five names who, over the past few decades, have build better worlds on the big screen. Avatar, Halloween, The Lord of the Rings, Inception and Jurassic Park are just the tip of the cinematic iceberg for that group and, this weekend at the Hero Complex Gallery, they’re paying tribute.

Imagined Worlds is a group show at the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, CA comprised of art based on the films of those five filmmakers. As you can expect, the possibilities are endless with that group and, below, you can get just a small sampling of the work that’ll first be on display Friday October 17, before going online Saturday October 18. Read More »

Early ET concept art

We know the history of Steven Spielberg‘s film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and we even know some of the fine details. For example, we’ve seen the early alien designs created by Rick Baker for the aborted project Night Skies. It’s obvious that some of those designs made their way to the stream of concepts that influenced ET when that film was born in the wake of Night Skies being scrapped.

Now we’ve got some rarely seen early ET concept art from Ed Verreaux, who worked with Spielberg as production illustrator starting on Raiders of the Lost Ark. The art by Verreaux shows more of the process of Night Skies alien designs being mutated into the friendly guy we know and love at the center of ET. Read More »

Kevin Smith CBM

What I’ve always loved about Kevin Smith is that he’s a fan. First and foremost, Smith loves movies and that’s why he always infuses his films with so much of that. At first is was totally blatant, like the references in Clerks or Mallrats. Now it’s a bit more subtle, such as borrowing storytelling techniques from Quentin Tarantino in Tusk. Either way, if you want to talk about movies, there are few people better.

In a new interview, Smith is asked about his new movie Moose Jaws. It’s a film he plans on making sometime in the next year which would be like Jaws, but with a moose. That conversation got him talking about how much he loves Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws and that rabbit hole lead him to pitch a Jaws sequel or reboot that Steven Spielberg himself would direct. It’s totally crazy and has more in common with Sharknado than Jaws but, if Spielberg was at the helm, who wouldn’t watch it? Read the crazy Kevin Smith Jaws pitch below. Read More »

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