10 'Interstellar' Secrets Straight From Christopher Nolan
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain also participated in an exclusive roundtable about the anticipated film
1. Anne Hathaway nearly got hypothermia during the shoot.
One scene called for Hathaway to be submerged in freezing water while shooting in Iceland, but her space suit wasn't properly waterproofed. After hours in the water, she wasn't sure if she could feel her toes.
2. Dust will rain from the skies
Nolan took inspiration from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but with a twist. The film's version will have a dust storm that is like a downpour of rain.
3. The science behind intergalactic travel is real (theoretically, at least)
"If a wormhole could be brought into existence, it would be possible," says Nolan, who consulted extensively with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. "It's really one of the only ways it would be possible because the distances involved are so vast. It's one of the tremendous, limiting factors about whether we could ever find other inhabitable planets; the nearest star within our galaxy [involves] thousands of years of travel."
4. Nolan and McConaughey didn't even talk about the movie during their initial, three-hour meeting
"I came away knowing nothing else about the film," says McConaughey. "We talked about who we are as 43-year-old men, talked about who we are as [fathers], talked about our kids. We talked about some other films and work and just got really a sense of each other. And so when I walked out, I had a little bit of, 'OK, what was that?' I think he wanted to see who I was."
5. Nolan looked to The Right Stuff as a guide
The director famously prefers avoiding CG, so he looked at "what older films about space were able to do," says Nolan. "One of the things we did was, we screened a print of The Right Stuff, an amazing film. And we looked at what they had done technically in 1983 with reflections of visors and things like that."
6. Zack Snyder's Man of Steel experience helped Nolan out
Nolan wanted real cornfields for his film, but wasn't sure how much time that would take to grow. "Luckily, [director] Zack [Snyder] had grown a bunch of corn, so I said, 'How much can you really grow practically?' " Nolan recalls. "And they had done a couple hundred acres [for Man of Steel], so we looked into it; we found that where we wanted to build our farmhouse really close to the mountains [outside] Calgary. In the end, we got a pretty good crop, and we actually made money on this."
7. McConaughey lived on location
While shooting in Calgary, Alberta, the actor lived in a trailer near the home his character inhabits.
8. Nolan's brother, Jonah, originally wrote the script for Steven Spielberg
"I always thought it sounded like a very exciting project — certainly it's a good sign if your brother's working on something [with Spielberg]," says Nolan. "When I saw the opportunity to get involved, I didn't hesitate."
9. McConaughey couldn't keep the first script he saw
"Comes delivered to my house when I was in New Orleans. Handed through the gate [by a] Mr. Jordan. And he said, 'I'm not leaving,' " McConaughey recalls. "And I [said], 'I'm going to take my time reading this, and I'm also a slow reader.' I stuck with it for five and a half hours, wrote a bunch of things down and had a whole lot of questions. I could not have had a perception of what it was beforehand."
10. Nolan says a film doesn't need to fully be understood
Remember that spinning top in Inception? There's a reason people are still debating it. "I don't think it does," Nolan says when asked if a film needs to be understood. "And I think that 2001 is one of those rare instances where it's a purely cinematic narrative and it really tells you that it doesn't need to be understood — it needs to be felt. But it also becomes one of the great inspirations and one of the great touchstones that you can talk to anyone about."
Click here to read this week' THR cover story, and stay tuned to THR.com for the full video of the roundtable, which debuts Oct. 29. It will also air on PBS in Southern California Nov. 1 and New York City Nov. 2. The roundtable was moderated by THR executive features editor Stephen Galloway.
Interstellar hits theaters Nov. 5.