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Christopher Nolan on ‘Interstellar’ and Preserving the Theatrical Experience

LAS VEGAS — Make no mistake, director Christopher Nolan appreciates the evolution of television as much as the next guy, but for him, it’s celluloid or bust.

His November release, “Interstellar,” which counts wormhole scientist Kip Thorne as one of its producers and stars Matthew McConaughey and Michael Caine, is still mostly under wraps.

At a CinemaCon lunch in his honor, Nolan said he’s focusing largely on tone, calling McConaughey’s character an “everyman” and describing the film as “using interstellar travel to go to other places you couldn’t reach beyond normal space travel.”

A huge proponent of IMAX, Nolan says he shot more of “Interstellar” on IMAX cameras than ever before but that he used spatial interiors and “real environments,” in effect shooting the film and the actor’s responses to action “like a documentary.”

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Although he’s all in favor of new technologies, he’s hesitant to adapt or use anything before it’s time tested – in a theater for certain and ideally in front of audiences.

New technology “has to cede what comes before that, and it hasn’t done that yet,” he said.

On the subject of 3D, Nolan praised Baz Luhrmann for “The Great Gatsby” but said that as far as the technology, “Just as stadium seating isn’t the best thing for a comedy, 3D isn’t the best for a shared audience.”

Well aware of his audience – a packed house of exhibitors – Nolan defended seeing films on the big screen and lobbied for more re-releases of films. He cited “Citizen Kane” and “The Odyssey” for their non-linear structure and advocated for shooting on 35 mm.

He ended speaking about the sound mix, promising theater owners and exhibitors a “unique approach” to sound mixing for “Interstellar,” looking to enhance and maximize current technologies, although he wouldn’t divulge how.

 

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