Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nolan on Directing

Before rocketing to mainstream prominence as the guiding force behind Warners' revivified Batman film franchise, writer/director Christopher Nolan had already garnered a reputation as one of the most unique and interesting directors to hit the scene thanks to such memorable fare as Memento. That reputation has been cemented in recent years thanks to the care and craft he puts into the films he associates with, whether his (soon-to-conclude) Batman cycle, or the "in-between" projects like The Prestige or Inception.

As this wide-ranging, in-depth interview with Nolan by the DGA's website amply demonstrates, the man behind the camera is just as thoughtful as his movies are thought-provoking. There's a lot of ground covered here, from his stylistic and creative choices to his thoughts on the future of the film industry. Oh, and there might even be a nugget or two in there about The Dark Knight Rises as well. Click past the jump for some of the highlights:

On finding inspiration in Ridley Scott's seminal opus Blade Runner:
As a kid watching films, you go through a gradual realization of what’s behind them. You start off like everyone else, thinking that actors make up the words and create the film themselves. So when I was young and looking at Alien and Blade Runner, I was going, OK, they’re different stories, different settings, really different actors, everything’s different—but there’s a very strong connection between those two films, and that is the director, Ridley Scott. I remember being struck by that, and thinking that’s the job I want.
On his love of shooting in IMAX, as opposed to 3D:
For The Dark Knight Rises we were on Wall Street with a thousand extras, and you can see everybody’s face in the frame. In some ways, I feel it takes me back almost to the silent film era, when they had those huge cameras. Trying to do things in more of a tableau fashion, it changes the way I direct a film, it changes the way I block the camera movement because of the size of the thing. The resulting image has so much power that you don’t need to cut in the same way, you can frame the shot slightly differently, you wind up with a slightly different feel.
On using practical effects vs. computer-generated effects:
There are usually two different goals in a visual effects movie. One is to fool the audience into seeing something seamless, and that’s how I try to use it. The other is to impress the audience with the amount of money spent on the spectacle of the visual effect, and that, I have no interest in. We try to enhance our stunt work and floor effects with extraordinary CGI tools like wire and rig removals. If you put a lot of time and effort into matching your original film elements, the kind of enhancements you can put into the frames can really trick the eye, offering results far beyond what was possible 20 years ago. The problem for me is if you don’t first shoot something with the camera on which to base the shot, the visual effect is going to stick out if the film you’re making has a realistic style or patina. I prefer films that feel more like real life, so any CGI has to be very carefully handled to fit into that.
There's a whole lot more at the link, so click through! Big ups to the DGA for orchestrating this terrific sit-down!

1 comment:

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