Interstellar (2014) Poster



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Early in pre-production, Dr. Kip Thorne laid down two guidelines to strictly follow: nothing would violate established physical laws, and that all the wild speculations would spring from science and not from the creative mind of a screenwriter. Christopher Nolan accepted these terms as long as they did not get in the way of the making of the movie. That did not prevent clashes though: at one point Thorne spent two weeks talking Nolan out of an idea about travelling faster than light.
To create the wormhole and black hole, Dr. Kip Thorne collaborated with VFX supervisor Paul J. Franklin and his team at Double Negative. Thorne provided pages of deeply sourced theoretical equations to the team, who then created new CGI software programs based on these equations to create accurate computer simulations of these phenomena. Some individual frames took up to 100 hours to render, and ultimately the whole CGI program reached to 800 terabytes of data. The resulting VFX provided Thorne with new insight into the effects of gravitational lensing and accretion disks surrounding black holes, and led to him writing two scientific papers: one for the astrophysics community and one for the computer graphics community.
The majority of shots of the robot TARS were not computer generated. Rather TARS was a practical puppet controlled and voiced on set by Bill Irwin who was then digitally erased from the film. Irwin also puppeteered the robot CASE, but in that instance had his voice dubbed over by Josh Stewart.
The giant dust clouds were created on location using large fans to blow cellulose-based synthetic dust through the air.
The Wormhole is placed near Saturn as a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), because Stanley Kubrick originally planned to end his movie at Saturn as in Arthur C Clark's original book. Unfortunately as special effects technology wasn't able to make Saturn's rings at that time, he changed it to Jupiter.
Composer Hans Zimmer was instructed by Christopher Nolan to make a unique score: "It's time to reinvent. The endless string [ostinatos] need to go by the wayside, the big drums are probably in the bin." Nolan did not provide Zimmer a script or any plot details for writing music for the film and instead gave the composer "one page of text" that "had more to do with [Zimmer's] story than the plot of the movie".
The method of space travel in this film was based on physicist Kip Thorne's works, which were also the basis for the method of space travel in Carl Sagan's novel "Contact", and the resulting film adaptation, Contact (1997). Matthew McConaughey stars in both films.
The wormhole explanation using paper and pen is exactly the same as it appears in Event Horizon (1997).
Steven Spielberg, who was attached to direct the film in 2006 and hired Jonathan Nolan to write the screenplay, chose other projects instead. In 2012, after Spielberg's departure, Jonathan Nolan suggested the project to his own brother Christopher Nolan.
Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose works inspired this film, was approached to play himself in a cameo role in the film.
Like Inception (2010) and the last two "Dark Knight" films, Nolan has focused on as many real environments as possible. "We have spatial interiors...we built closed sets [and] shot it like a documentary like [the actors] were really there," he said. Nolan had the film's visual effects created in advance and projected onto screens placed outside of the spacecraft set, so when the actors looked out the windows of their space vessel they would be able to see and react to a real environment and not a green screen. Technically, Nolan said he shot with an IMAX camera on Interstellar (2014) more than any of his previous pictures. He also wants to give greater enhancement to the audio experience this time around. He also stated that he has "very ambitious sound mix plans. [I want to] give audiences an incredible immersive experience. The technical aspects are going to be more important than any film I've made before."
For a cornfield scene, Christopher Nolan sought to grow 500 acres of corn, which he learned was feasible from his producing of Man of Steel (2013). The corn was then sold and actually made a profit.
Christopher Nolan cast Matthew McConaughey after seeing his performance in Mud (2012). It was an "ideal moment" for Nolan when they landed a Texas native, McConaughey, for the lead role. "I'm thrilled for him right now. I didn't know how much potential he had until I saw Mud (2012), not just as a leading man but in sheer acting talent." He remarked that in McConaughey, he "needed an everyday man who can experience these extraordinary events."
Anne Hathaway suffered from hypothermia while filming in Iceland due to the fact that her astronaut suit was open while filming scenes in the icy water.
Features the most footage ever shot using 15/70mm IMAX cameras for a feature film, and, due to the film industry's rapid conversion to digital projection formats, will potentially be the last feature film ever to be projected on 15/70mm IMAX film.
According to Dr. Kip Thorne, the largest degree of creative license in the film are the clouds of the ice planet, which are structures that probably go beyond the material strength which ice would be able to support.
Cooper's first name is never revealed throughout the entire film.
The Ranger, Endurance, and Lander spacecrafts were created using miniature effects by effects company New Deal Studios, as Christopher Nolan felt they were better than computer-generated effects to give the ships a tangible presence in space.
This is the sixth collaboration between Michael Caine and Christopher Nolan. The other five titles are: Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
The screenplay is based on the works of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. He described the story as "based on warped space-time - the most exotic events in the universe suddenly becoming accessible to humans".
To acquire inspiration for real-world space travel, Christopher Nolan invited former astronaut Marsha Ivins to the set.
Production designer Nathan Crowley based the Endurance ship's design on the International Space Station: "It's a real mishmash of different kinds of technology; you need analogue stuff as well as digital stuff, you need back-up systems and tangible switches. Every inch of space is used, everything has a purpose. It's really like a submarine in space. "
The jacket that Murph (Jessica Chastain) wears throughout the movie is the same jacket that Coop wears in the beginning.
Christopher Nolan was initially concerned that a scientifically accurate depiction of a black hole would not be easily depicted for the common audience. However Nolan found the finished effect to be explainable provided that he maintained consistent camera perspectives: "As long as we didn't change the point of view/the camera position too much, we could get something very understandable."
The apocalyptic Earth setting in this film is inspired by the Dust Bowl disaster that took place in the United States during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Some space sequences were shot with an IMAX camera installed in the nose cone of a Learjet.
Until post production was complete, Matthew McConaughey did not even reveal the plot of the film to his wife Camila Alves.
A copy of Stephen King's novel "The Stand" is visible among Murph's books. King's book is about the near extinction of humanity and the survivors struggle to relocate and settle down. Similar to the plot of Interstellar.
After watching the documentary The Dust Bowl (2012), Christopher Nolan contacted its director Ken Burns and producer Dayton Duncan, requesting permission to use some of their featured interviews in the film.
Given the movie is 169 minutes long and cost approx. $165 million to make, it therefore carries a price tag of approx. $976,000 per minute.
The robot personalities are inspired by Douglas Adams' universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), where the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation created the Genuine People Personalities ("GPP"), which imbue their robots with intelligence and emotion. The most recognized example in Douglas' universe is Marvin, a paranoid android.
Christopher Nolan described the film as "an ode to human spaceflight" and cited multiple films as influence on the project: The films Metropolis (1927), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) served as influence for the films depiction of science and space travel, while the films The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The Mirror (1975) influenced the human drama. Nolan also cited the Steven Spielberg films Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) as films which manage to tackle serious subject matters while still appealing to all audiences as examples for him to emulate. Finally, Nolan screened a film print of The Right Stuff (1983) for the crew before shooting started to help them understand their roles in the film.
Filmed under the fake name "Flora's Letter", after Christopher Nolan's daughter Flora Nolan.
The oft-quoted lines beginning with "Do not go gentle into that good night" are from a poem by Dylan Thomas.
The dismantled robot on the ice planet has the designation KIPP which is a reference to executive producer Kip Thorne.
In order to offer Jessica Chastain her role, Christopher Nolan sent an assistant to Ireland, where she was filming Miss Julie (2014) with a script watermarked with Chastain's name. Chastain was not allowed to keep the script after she read it.
Starting in 2014, Paramount Pictures began to cease releasing its features on traditional film stock in favor of digital projection formats. However as Christopher Nolan is a strong proponent for the continued use of film prints over digital, he insisted that Interstellar was additionally released in the 15/70mm IMAX, standard 70mm, and 35mm film formats a full two days before its wider digital release.
Some of the "archive footage" interviews were filmed specifically for the production and then altered by the visual effects teams to appear much older.
The film parodies the story that the moon landings were faked by the government. It's used in the movie as an attempt to quell future generations' enthusiasm for space travel. Amazingly, real life conspiracy theorists suggest that Stanley Kubrick directed the TV footage of the landings using left over props from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) which itself is one of the inspirations for Interstellar (2014).
Many of the IMAX lenses used during filming were prototypes; never before seen, and some last minute modifications had to be made to some of the lenses just days before filming began.
The shape of the space station is in reference to a clock face, with time being a major theme in the movie.
This is Christopher Nolan's first film since Following (1998) to not be filmed by cinematographer Wally Pfister, who was busy with his directorial debut Transcendence (2014). Nolan hired cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema to replace Pfister.
The school where Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) goes to the parent-teacher conference is called "Longview School" and is an actual school in Longview, Alberta, Canada where the scene was filmed. Coincidently McConaughey graduated from Longview High School in Longview, TX.
In a Q&A interview at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on March 26, 2014, Christopher Nolan stated that Interstellar (2014) is "very different" from his past work and he was inspired by the movies he saw growing up during what he termed "the golden age of the blockbuster" - essentially, four quadrant films that didn't need a "family" label to appeal to all audiences. Nolan noted it's "really about going back to those sort of films."
The film began as a Paramount production. When Christopher Nolan took the director's chair, Warner Bros., who has released Nolan's recent productions, sought a stake in the project. In exchange for international distribution rights, Warner gave Paramount the rights to co-finance future sequels of Friday the 13th (2009) and South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999).
The character of Murph was originally a boy in early drafts of the script.
The name of the black hole is "Gargantua" who was also a giant with an incredible appetite, very difficult to satisfy. This character was created by François Rabelais in his "Gargantua e Pantagruel" novels.
Hoyte Van Hoytema retooled an IMAX camera to be handheld for shooting interior scenes.
The film has five Academy Award winners in the cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, and Matt Damon (although Damon won for writing rather than acting). Cast members Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, and John Lithgow have also been nominated for Academy Awards, making for a grand total of eight Oscar nominees overall.
This is the fifth collaboration between Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan.
The logos for Warner Bros, Paramount, Syncopy and Legendary at the beginning of the film all have a "dusty" treatment given to them, foreshadowing the reason for film's main plot.
When presenting the American Cinematheque award to Matthew McConaughey, Christopher Nolan said: "I'm not a believer in the McConaissance," the director said. "I think Matthew's success of late is the rest of us catching up to what he's been doing...Jennifer Garner talked about two different films she'd done with him and explained that he'd given the same gravity and intensity to both different genres, and I can tell you as a director, there's no question that this is a performer who can't say, 'Pass the salt,' without it being truthful, without meaning something...I've never worked with an actor so relentless in his pursuit of truth in everything he does." Nolan also recalled: While the Interstellar director was presenting the night's award to McConaughey, he recalled how the super-dad would play with Nolan's own kids while on set. "I find him extremely serious. [But] my kids found him very amusing on his days off when he would build forts with them and his kids, thereby making me look like a slightly worse father."
This is Christopher Nolan's seventh film to be included in the IMDb Top 250.
In Christopher Nolan's opinion, the score composed by Hans Zimmer in this film is the strongest and most powerful one he has so far created.
The TARS robot, when standing upright, strongly resembled a much smaller version of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
In the office of NASA's secret base, you can catch a glimpse of the lithographs of "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne.
The building designs in this film are inspired by the works of modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Kip Thorne also collaborated with game developer Sticky Studios on the official mobile and web game by providing paper excerpts and equations. The entire game is scientifically correct in respect to time dilation, gravity and energy.
Irrfan Khan was considered for a role but declined due to schedule conflicts with The Lunchbox (2013) and D-Day (2013).
The wormhole shown in this film near Saturn is exactly the same place shown in Man of Steel (2013), produced by Christopher Nolan. In Man of Steel (2013), Superman as a child arrives into our solar system in a spaceship through a wormhole.
A. Scott Berg's biography of Charles A. Lindbergh appears on Murph's bookshelf as an ode to man's early days of flight.
Nolan combined his idea with an existing script by his brother Jonathan Nolan that was developed in 2007 for Paramount Pictures and producer Lynda Obst.
In Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), an engineer stumbles across a top-secret government operation by following a mysterious message. The government rendezvous's with aliens when they send map co-ordinates for humans to follow. In this film, Matthew McConaughey plays an engineer who receives map co-ordinates from a mysterious source, and follows them to a top-secret government operation. Also in both film, stumbling upon this operation leads directly to him being invited to take part in a space flight. Both films also feature a scene of the main character in his truck fumbling with maps. Appropriately, Steven Spielberg was the one who originally developed this project.
Many of the characters' names are found on the books in Murph's room as authors.
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Several tracks of Hans Zimmer's original score are recorded at a tempo of a beat per second (60 BPM) - precisely matching the passage of time, a recurring theme of the movie. These key scenes include "Imperfect Lock", "No Time For Caution" (the docking scene), and varying portions of "Stay", "Mountains" (the water planet) and "Detach"
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Anne Hathaway's character is named Amelia. This may be a nod to famous pilot Amelia Earhart who, like Hathaway's on-screen persona, was a woman who went further than any other person in exploring and flying.
Production designer Nathan Crowley described the Lander spacecraft as a "heavy Russian helicopter".
Hans Zimmer was attracted to the pipe organ as a key instrument for the score because its mechanics reminded him of the thrusters and engines of a spaceship.
In the scene where Donald (John Lithgow) is watching the baseball game with Cooper and Murph, he comments that "it isn't right to have popcorn at a baseball game" and then after a brief pause, says "I want a hot dog." In the movie 2010 (1984) Walter Curnow (also played by John Lithgow) gets into a similar discussion with Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) about missing hot dogs with Curnow's preference being "Astrodome. Good hot dogs there."
One of the books on the shelf is by Diana Gabaldon who is the author of the historical fiction series Outlander (2014) which includes a time travel aspect.
This is the first film directed by Christopher Nolan since The Prestige (2006) to feature an opening title card.
The first time since Insomnia (2002) that the word 'fuck' has been used in a Christopher Nolan film.
Cooper tells Murph her name means "whatever can happen, will happen." Murphy's law actually means "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."
With a running time of 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 7 seconds the longest IMAX movie as of 2014.
The 70mm IMAX version is two minutes shorter than the regular 70mm, Digital IMAX, 35mm, and digital projection versions. This is because the end credits are played in an abbreviated slide-show form (rather than scrolling from bottom to top), due to the size capacity of the IMAX platters, which can hold a maximum of 167 minutes of film.
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Christopher Nolan's fourth straight film to be named one of AFI's Top Ten Movies of the Year.
John Lithgow was the narrator of the documentary, Einstein's Big Idea (2005) which examines Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2; the equation that the plot of Interstellar (2014) is based largely around.
Dr. Brand makes a reference to the biblical Lazarus who was raised from the dead. While not explicitly referenced, the "Dark Knight Trilogy" directed by Nolan features a character known as Ra's Al Ghul, who in the original source material of the Batman comics, cheated death numerous times thanks to the magic and science of the "Lazarus Pit". Both the trilogy and "Interstellar" share common themes such as rebirth and beginning new lives, and they also involve end of the world type scenarios (although in the Batman films, it would be on a smaller scale in the beginning at least).
Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars makes a friend and ally named Tars Tarkas from whom TARS could be named.
Ellen Burstyn played an old and crotchety woman in the movie version of Margaret Laurence's novel The Stone Angel (2007). In the foreword to the novel, Lawrence quotes the Dylan Thomas poem "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." which is frequently used in the movie.
One of the books seen on the bookcase in Murph's room is 'Stephen King''s The Stand. 'Matthew McConaughey', the lead actor in this film, has been cast in 'Josh Boone''s long-mooted adaption of the very same book. (As of Dec. 2014)
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One of the books on Murph's shelf is "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", the story of a family whose flaws contribute to its tragic end, all while they develop a genetically superior breed of dog that can survive without man's intervention.
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Christopher Nolan has directed two other films that begin with In besides for Interstellar; Inception and Insomnia.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Actor Matt Damon was not included in the promotion for the film. His name was not mentioned and he did not attend any of the premieres. In fact, his role was kept secret until the release of the film.
There is a reference to a "tesseract". The first known reference to the term in science fiction literature occurred in Robert A. Heinlein's 1941 short story "-And He Built A Crooked House-". In the story an architect designs a house based upon the geometric concept of a four-dimensional analog of the cube. He does this so well that the house folds in upon itself and creates a dimensional loop within the structure. People within the house can see themselves by looking through one room into another which is, in fact, the room they are in and find it (near) impossible to leave as they are in a loop, much like what Coop saw when he entered the black hole.
There are 15 differences from Steven Spielberg's unproduced version of Interstellar and this one:

-Murph was male.

-A fallen space probe brings Cooper to NASA.

-The Lazarus Mission never occurred and instead, a series of space probes were sent through the wormhole to transmit data.

-The wormhole was tiny and sphere-shaped so the crew suffers from distortion while going through it.

-The mission only travels to the ice planet.

-Cooper finds a dusty Chinese base camp on the planet so the Chinese had already discovered the ice planet 30 years prior with a 4 man crew & 15 robots.

-They find a laboratory containing a machine, which when turned on reverses the gravity inside the room.

-Professor Brand has spent his whole life trying to solve the gravity equation which would allow Earth to launch a space station saving the lives of many people on the planet. The original story never had scientists on Earth looking to solve such an issue and the NASA base was not built in a centrifuge space station.

-Instead of the evil Dr. Mann showing up, there are aliens and bad robots.

-Everyone on Earth dies but the story does not cut away to show what is happening on Earth.

-The original story takes place entirely from Cooper's point of view. We never see any of the story elements of Murph & Prof. Brand back at home. The original story loses the emotional connection between father & daughter and instead explores much more fully the relationship of Cooper & Brand as it grows.

-A second wormhole is discovered through the Chinese crew's logs. They also eventually encounter orb distortions, possibly creatures that can only interact using gravity.

-The ship finds a space station built outside of space & time. It is an opening leading to the view of the entire universe compressed into a flattened disc. It is implied that they are now outside of space & time, looking from some kind of fifth dimension.

-They also discover a time traveling wormhole the Chinese robots found that goes back to earth but to a different time, a few years after they had left. It's unclear though if the Chinese made it back.

-Cooper arrives back on Earth, two hundred years after he has left and humanity is completely gone from the planet.
The very first line in the movie, spoken by Coop's daughter Murph is as follows: "I thought you were the ghost." She means that she heard him moving around and thought her "ghost" was making noise. This line carries more significance when the ending is known; Cooper truly was Murph's ghost the whole time.
While leaving home Cooper says to Murph that "Once you're a parent, you're the ghost of your children's future". And in the end it is revealed that Cooper was Murph's ghost.
The escape method from the black hole, using the space ships jointly as thrusting power (and then leaving only one thrusting ship behind for Hathaway's character) resembles the escape method in the movie 2010 (1984) (from one of Jupiter's changing moons).
The characters mention traveling via a "tesseract", which is likely a reference to the description of multi-dimensional travel first used in Robert A. Heinlein's short story "--And He Built a Crooked House" from 1941 and later in the 1962 Science Fiction novel "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.
Hans Zimmer's soundtrack was so powerful, that many people stated that they cried during the docking sequence (when Endurance is spinning and the crew needs to dock their Ranger to it), because of how powerful the music was. In the initial release of the soundtrack the full music of that sequence was not included. A few weeks after the release of the soundtrack, Hans added the music to the soundtrack, as a bonus track on the iTunes Deluxe Edition.
When Cooper is giving Murph the solution from "behind" the bookshelves, he asked TARS to code it in binary. Cooper then proceeds to "tapping" the code via the second hand of the watch he gave Murph before he left. The first code he tapped was dot-dot-dot-dot dot-dash-dot-dash, which corresponds to the 0000 0101. In binary, the code translates to the number 5, which can be seen as the first number in a line in Murph's notebook, where she jot down the coded message.
Cooper and Dr Brand came back to Endurance after 23 years, 4 months and 8 days, which means that their entire mission on Miller's planet took some 3 hours 17 minutes (based plainly that 1 hour on the planet equals 7 years on earth/Endurance)
Matthew McConaughey's children Levi and Vida appear in one of the final scenes, at Ellen Burstyn's bedside. Ellen caresses Levi's head.
After the crew landed on Miller's planet, just when they are about to get off Ranger 1, the score softens, and we can hear ticks approximately once every second. Because of the time dilation due to Gargantua's gravity, every tick represents approx. 17 hours on earth
Old Murph (Ellen Burstyn) has the first and last lines of dialogue.
Toward the end of the movie when Cooper is walking toward the copy of his house on the space station, a series of screens on his path depict people narrating their past experience on earth. On the very last screen for an instant you can see someone who looks vaguely like Arthur C. Clarke the writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This is not actually Clarke and is in fact one of the people featured from the The Dust Bowl (2012) footage, possibly selected because of the resemblance.
In spite of TARS's humorous line about never leaving Dr. Brand behind, that's exactly what happens near the end when he is jettisoned into the black hole, Gargantua.
The scene near the end when Cooper travels out of the tesseract back through the worm hole and touches Brand's hand resembles Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" painting in the Sistine Chapel.
When inside the tesseract during the black hole sequence, one of the books on the bookshelf is James Ellroy's "The Big Nowhere". Clearly an allusion to where Cooper is at that moment.
Dr. Mann emphasizes to Cooper that before he dies he will see his children, foreshadowing his actual reunion with Murph
With only four characters dying in the film (Doyle, Romily, Professor Brand and Mann), Interstellar is one of Christopher Nolan's least violent films.
The starship near the end of the film resembles Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama 50-kilometre (31 mi) cylindrical alien starship, that also carry human colony to the stars.
On Miller's planet, each second is roughly equal to 18 hours on Earth (due to the time dilation as dictated by relativity).
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While Coop takes down time at (the orbital replica of) his homestead, the surroundings are curved upwards in Möbius-like angles. Elysium (2013) had a similar, human settlement apart from Earth-which also starred Matt Damon.
In Timestalkers (1987) a historian researches clues of time travel in the past (from a remote, plausible future) which leads him to a top secret military base/hangar. The plot device is similar (although it's a former pilot; and later, his astrophysicist daughter) to Interstellar (2014) and William Devane acted in both films.
When Cooper exits the wormhole back to Earth's solar system the scene resembles the "star child' scene from Stanley Kubrick''s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) which is referenced several times in this film.
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Body Count: 4
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