Christopher Nolan Snuck A Nod To His Kids Into Almost All Of His Films

Throughout his career as a director, Christopher Nolan's films have explored time and memory and how these things inform their characters' understanding of not only themselves but the very nature of their reality. More than that, since becoming a father in real life, Nolan has often woven these themes into stories about parents (specifically fathers) and their relationship with their kids.

This trend goes back to 2005's "Batman Begins," a film that contains multiple flashbacks where the now grown-up Bruce Wayne recalls the lessons his father Thomas taught him as a child before he and Bruce's mother Martha (yes, I dared to say the name) were murdered. "The Prestige," "Inception," and "Interstellar" similarly center on protagonists whose actions are either partly or entirely motivated by a desire to reunite with their children. It doesn't take a leap in logic to draw a line between this motif and Nolan's own mixed feelings about being away from his kids while he's making a movie.

Speaking with The Guardian, Nolan talked about the guilt he feels while leaving his kids to direct a movie and how that's fed into his work as a filmmaker, especially "Interstellar":

"There is a lot of guilt for that. A lot of guilt. The very sadness of saying goodbye to people is a massive expression of the love you feel for them. For me, ['Interstellar'] is really about being a father. The sense of your life passing you by and your kids growing up before your eyes. Very much what I felt watching Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood,' an extraordinary film, which is weirdly doing the same thing in a completely different way. We are all engaged in the biggest mystery of all, which is just living through time."

Nolan's Kids Love to Tease Him (As They Should)

As further proof that they're ever-present on his mind, Nolan has snuck nods to his four kids (Rory, Magnus, Oliver, and Flora) into many of his films via their working titles. According to The Guardian, this started with 2008's "The Dark Knight," which went under the placeholder title "Rory's First Kiss." It then continued with "Inception" in 2010 (working title: "Oliver's Arrow"), "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012 ("Magnus Rex"), and "Interstellar" in 2014 ("Flora's Letter").

Obviously, these working titles also help to keep Nolan's films a little more under the radar during production, but the proof is in the pudding when it comes to his love for his children. His feelings are equally plain in the anecdotes Nolan shares about them, the most famous of which would probably be the story he told about the time he and producer Emma Thomas (who he's married to) took their kids with them to see the movie "Phantom Thread." As Nolan revealed at the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (via Collider):

"My wife and I made the strange decision to take our kids to go see ['Phantom Thread'] and, ever since, every time I do anything vaguely what they would call dictatorial, it's, 'Oh, Mr. Woodcock [Daniel Day-Lewis' character in the film], are you a spy? Get out your gun. Do you have a gun?' I've been hearing that for weeks. And every time Emma cooks mushrooms now, there are huge hysterics."

Suffice it to say, Nolan's kids wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't make fun of him now and then, and he no doubt loves them all the more for it.