Audience members then got a chance to ask a few questions. First up was comic book artist, Ed Brubaker (Captain America). He asked about Nolan’s screenwriting process that leads to scripts that he called “bulletproof.”
Nolan made some interesting points, like the fact he wrote Following in chronological order. The film is much like The Prestige in its non-linear structure, yet he placed the pieces in that final order after it was written. Of course, he found that process to be extremely difficult. When it came to Memento, he wrote it exactly as you see it – backwards.
But Nolan’s writing process takes on a few other patterns as well, like when he battled with The Joker’s backstory in The Dark Knight.
“…With The Dark Knight, with the Joker, his origin story I wrote a couple of times. With that I tend to just write very, very free form, very, very long. I just sort of splurge through three or four pages. Then I spend days and days just editing it down to make it into something, but trying not to stop an idea before it has a chance to be born.
Another audience member asked about the tremendous success of The Dark Knight and if it caught Nolan by surprise. While he was humbled by the success, he gave much of the credit to Batman Begins for giving people the confidence in his vision. Nolan also gave credit to the wonderful performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker.
Boucher then got back on the microphone to ask Nolan about his opinion on 3D. His answer is making the rounds on the Internet as we speak and with good reason – 3D is a massive part of the evolution of the film industry. His answer was tremendously in depth, but I’ll leave out his jargon that left much of the audience in awe of his technical prowess.
“I’m not a huge fan of 3D, really. There is no question that if audiences want to watch films in stereoscopic imaging, that is what the studios will be doing and that is what I’ll be doing. The truth is, I think it is a misnomer to call it 3D versus 2D, because the whole point of cinematic imagery is that it is 3D imagery – we work in three dimensions. You know, 95% of our depth cues come from occlusion, resolution and so forth. So, the idea of calling a 2D movie a 2D movie is a little misleading.
I don’t know, we did test some of Inception in post-conversion processes and they worked very well. It is quite easy to do, in fact. But it takes a little time and we didn’t have time to do it up to the standards that I would have been happy with. But it was fascinating technology. On a technical level I think it is fascinating. There are just enormous compromises. Post-conversion processes are probably, for me, the way of the future. But, really it is up to audiences to decide what they want to see and how they want to watch their films. Certainly, I am quite pleased with Inception and the way it is presented – very bright, very clear. So, as the technology improves, those differences may change. Really, it’s going to be up to audiences. [Later, in an unrelated moment] I find it impossible to forget as a viewer that I am watching a film at times [with 3D].”
The 45-minute interview with Christopher Nolan flew by, even though nothing crazy was revealed. Those in attendance were given a fantastic look at the creative genius of Nolan – his combination of technical expertise, careful care for the fans and overall passion for movies shines through in his articulate responses.
I wish I was there for Sunday’s conversation with Ridley Scott – held in between screenings of Alien and Blade Runner – but I had to catch a flight back home to Chicago. Head over to the Hero Complex blog and check out Geoff Boucher’s rundown of the interview.
Inception releases in theaters and IMAX on July 16th, 2010.
Batman 3 and Superman are both scheduled for 2012 releases.