Christopher and Jonathan Nolan began working on “Interstellar” back in 2007. Now that the film has been out for a little over a month, they’re free to sit back and enjoy the ride — but not without being pulled into the chaos of awards season, which ultimately comes with the territory when your film is released this time of year.
At a lunch yesterday celebrating the film, Indiewire spoke with screenwriter Jonathan and director Christopher Nolan about how the past month has been for them and how the post-release experience for “Interstellar” has differed from the “Batman” films or “Inception,” all of which were released during the summer blockbuster season. For Jonathan, the transition from being known as the “summer blockbuster guys” to releasing something like “Interstellar” at the end of the year is a noticeable contrast.
“I love that idea of the holiday movie season because you also get sucked into the Oscar bait season, and that’s a whole different thing,” said Jonathan. “We started as indie filmmakers, so you’re happy to have your movie in the theater at any time during the year when you’re coming from the indie film world. We then got accustomed to the summer box office where, if there are ideas in the film, people are pleasantly surprised. Releasing the film during this time of year is a little out of our comfort zones, but it’s great fun to watch the theme and emotion of the film connect with the themes of this holiday season. It’s about family and connectivity. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in part because it’s more of a secular holiday and it’s about food and family. That emphasis on family and connectivity felt like a good fit with the themes of the film.”
Christopher agreed that the transitional period between fall and winter is an odd time for a blockbuster.
“There’s a different rhythm to the release of the films,” he said. “There are more things like this where you can support the film while it’s still in theaters, which is something I’ve never done before. I guess November was a good time for a blockbuster, which is cool. There was no way this one was going to be ready this summer, so I’m definitely enjoying this time of year. It’s a different rhythm.”
However, as Jonathan mentioned, the consequence of the release date is getting sucked into awards season frenzy. The brothers agreed, however, that awards aren’t something weighing on their minds.
“Truthfully, when you do big blockbusters like ‘Interstellar,’ it’s all about the audience,” Christopher said. “So any of those considerations are always secondary. You really have to be thinking about getting the film out there to as many people as possible. Getting it to a wide audience is most important, and fortunately that’s been the way it’s been going and it’s exciting to see it go out in the world.”
As it turns out, audience response has been one of his favorite parts of the experience.
“It’s been so fun watching it with audiences. I think it’s great,” he said. “There’s one particular moment in the film that I don’t want to spoil, but it’s a big shock and everybody jumps. That’s a lot of fun for a filmmaker. Hearing people crying is also great too. It’s an emotional thing that’s been very, very rewarding.”