Christopher Nolan Talks Inception, Superman, and Batman 3 Rumors
06.18.10 by Ryan
Director Christopher Nolan attended the LA Times' Hero Complex Film Festival over the weekend and sat down to be interviewed about his upcoming projects. Nolan's next directorial effort, the thriller Inception, is a movie that Nolan has previously admitted he conceived of when he was 16, but at the Festival, Nolan revealed that it took him 10 years to finish the script.
Inception is something I have been working on for a long time. I've wanted to make a film about dreams really since I was a kid. That idea took various forms over the years. About 10 years ago, I settled on this concept of really a heist movie set around the idea of a technology that allows people to share dreams and the abuse of that technology by a group of people called extractors, that people can, by drawing somebody into your dream, they can find secrets and steal information. That's sort of the beginning of the world, the premise that Inception is launched from.
I first pitched it to Warner Brothers right after we finished Insomnia. They were very interested and wanted me to write it for them. I sort of realized that it's not something I could have ever written on assignment. It's something I needed to go write on spec and show them the finished thing. So I went off to write it and I thought that would take me a couple of months and it took me 10 years. But, it was the right way to go, because when they saw the screenplay, it was a very challenging screenplay to read. It's much easier to watch as a film than it is to read it as a screenplay. By then, having done the Batman films and done Insomnia, I was in a position where they were able to trust me that I could bring these things to life on screen.
Another element that Nolan struggled with was finding the emotional core of the story, something Nolan praised Leonardo DiCaprio with helping solidify.
One of the reasons it took so long to finish the script is I was lacking a strong emotional connection. I'd written a heist movie. Heist movies, it turns out, it's not something I ever realized, tend to be deliberately superficial. They tend to be glamorous and fun and procedural. They tend not to have massive emotional shifts so that wasn’t really enough for me to finish the script. So what I wound up doing is over the years, I figured out how to emotionally connect to the character.
As Leo came on, he’s an actor very much like Guy Pearce was in Memento, who had the task of finding the emotional truth of the character. By being so rigid about that as he is in all his performances, he really needs to know the emotional logic behind why his characters are doing things. I went through that for months with him. I think we really managed to finish the piece, make it something that at least for me — we’ll find out what audiences think in a few weeks — but for me and for the people working on Inception, were able to connect emotionally, not just on a level of being a clever puzzle box of a film.
Another project that Nolan has been linked to is a Superman reboot, with Warner Bros. asking Nolan to "godfather" the movie. Nolan explained how he came to be involved and what exactly his role will be.
It's something I'm doing as a producer, not as a director, but my involvement in it is quite specific which is while David Goyer and myself were wrestling with the story for another Batman film, as we were stuck, he just said to me kind of out of the blue one day that he had a great idea for how to take on Superman. He pitched it to me. I thought it was terrific. I just felt like I didn't want it to not get done, so I went to the studio and said, "Let's have a crack." That's the nature of my involvement.
Of course, Nolan will still be involved with the upcoming Batman 3, which has been given a release date of July 20, 2012. With recent reports confirming Nolan will start shooting the sequel in March of next year, what isn't confirmed is the cast. Internet rumors about Batman 3 have been churning out for years, and its something Nolan says he does his best to avoid.
Honestly, I don't really look at the internet. I think at a very early stage in taking on Batman, I realized it wasn't going to be helpful to look at what they say. I've always taken the view that everybody feels very passionate about these characters and they have a lot of ideas and a lot of thoughts on what should or shouldn't be done. I think underlying it all, all you can really offer as a filmmaker is try to make what you feel is going to be sincerely the best movie you could make. Beyond that, you're never going to be able to keep people happy. You'll hear things from the studio sometimes, it's clear that they've been reading stuff online, but you have to just sort of [let it go]. I got a call saying, "Why did you cast Cher?" So I actually don't have e-mail or a cell phone. It gives me a little more time to think.