Today we take a Career Outlook at one of the best directors to date, Mr Christopher Nolan.
Christopher Johnathan James Nolan was born on the 30th of July 1970 in London. His father was an advertising executive and his mother an American English teacher. He has two brothers.
Nolan began making films at age 7. Borrowing his fathers Super 8 camera, he shot shorts with his toys. What really inspired him was the Sci-Fi epic Star Wars. His uncle worked for NASA at the time, who sent him test launch footage which he added to his shorts thinking nobody would notice.
Skip forward over 15 years, after graduating college successfully and many short films under his belt- Nolan directed his first feature film. Entitled The Following, he shot is with friends over many weekends in 1998 entirely at his own cost.
The picture told the story of an unemployed young writer who trailed strangers throughout London in hope they would provide material for his first novel. Nolan came up with the idea through experiencing living in London and being burgled:
“There is an interesting connection between a stranger going through your possessions and the concept of following people at random through a crowd.”
The film made a modest £3,000 and was well received.
After his small success, Nolan took the leap to make his breakthrough hit, Memento. During a trip, his younger brother Johnathan pitched an idea about a man suffering from amnesia who needed to use tattoos and notes in order to find his wife’s killer. Nolan jumped on the idea and began to develop it out.
With Guy Pearce as the lead, the film premiered to rave reviews. The film earned both Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Nolan and it was also considered one of the best films of 2000.
Inspired by his work, Steven Soderberg (Oceans Trilogy) recruited Nolan to direct psychological thriller Insomnia which starred All Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. With a $46m budget, the film saw two LA detectives recruited to Alaska to solve a murder. Earning $113m, Roger Ebert praised it saying:
“Unlike most remakes, Nolan’s is not a retread but a reexamination of the material.”
After the well received thriller, Nolan leaned toward a Howard Hughes project. But, when learning of the Scorsese project “The Aviator” he unhappily shelved his script in 2003.
In the same year, Nolan approached Warner Bros. with his very own take on the famous caped crusader. Fascinated by the comics, Batman Begins became his biggest undertake to date. Starring Christian Bale, it told the original story of Bruce Wayne and his initial fears in becoming the Bat. Premiering in 2005 it was met with both critical and commercial success. The New York Times called it:
“A wake up call to people who keep given cute capers about men in tights.”
Coming off Batman, Nolan went onto an adaption of the novel The Prestige. Again, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, the film saw two friends feud over the right to be the best magician. It earned $109m and gained two Oscars for cinematography and design. Ebert again called it:
“Quite a movie- atmospheric, obsessive, almost satanic.”
Moves forward to 2006, and Nolan announced a follow up to BB which would be entitled The Dark Knight. Being his first ever sequel, Nolan wanted to expand on the look and take on:
“The dynamic of the story of the city, a large crime story..”
Released in 2008, TDK has been hailed of the best films of the 2000s along with one of the best superhero films ever made. Ebert expressed his point of view quoting it as a:
“Haunting film that leaps beyond its origins engrossing tragedy.”
The film broke records earning a total over $1.4b worldwide. It was also nominated for 8 Oscars winning best editing and best supporting actor for Heath Ledger.
After TDK breaking records, Warner Bros. jumped on Nolan to direct their project Inception. Nolan described it as: “A contemporary Sci-Fi actioned set within the architecture of the mind.” With a large ensemble, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, the piece received both critical and commercial success upon its release in 2010. Mark Kermoda hailed it as 2010s best film. Quoting:
“Inception is proof that people in Hollywood are not stupid.” The film ended up grossing $820m and was nominated for various major awards.
In 2012, Nolan returned for the final chapter in his Dark Knight Trilogy. Although he was at first, sceptical about returning, he agreed to return after developing a story with his brother that has a fitting conclusion. The finale received incredible acclaim with some critics saying:
“Arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling, most disturbing and utterly balls out spectacle ever created for the screen.”
In January 2013, it was confirmed that Nolan would return to direct Space thriller Interstellar. Originally for Spielberg, Nolan took the reigns. The film depicted a heroic voyage to the furthest reaches of scientific understanding. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain- the film went onto receive positive reviews and a strong box office of $670m. Nolan received particular praise for his accuracy. It earned a win for best visuals at the 87th Oscars.
This year, Nolan became an executive producer on Batman V Superman, according to another producer:
“Nolan is involved in an advisory capacity.”
Christopher Nolan has become one of the all time greatest directors to date. With nothing but success his way.
What is your favourite Nolan film? Let us know! Nerd out!