Writer and director Christopher Nolan has begun work on his first major film project since completing his Batman trilogy and “taking a break” whilst producing Man of Steel. Aside from a slew of casting news, we’ve been mostly kept in the dark about Interstellar, a sci-fi movie based around theories of traveling through wormholes to cross vast distances in space.

Interstellar is expected to film a good portion of its scenes in Iceland, which was also where Ridley Scott spent time filming Prometheus, but for the scenes set on Earth the cast and crew of Interstellar are currently settled in Fort Macleod, Alberta. With production underway, a little of the secrecy surrounding Nolan’s new sci-fi has fallen away, giving us a first look at the actors on set as well as some more details about the story.

One of the few known facts about Interstellar‘s plot is that it features a group of explorers who travel through a wormhole to seek out the far reaches of the universe, but fresh story details from the Fort Macleod Gazette reveal the motivation behind the mission. That motivation is… climate change! More specifically, a crop famine that has been brought about by the effects of climate change, with corn as the last crop to be cultivated. The scientists who head through the wormhole aren’t looking for alien life or Unobtainium – they just need a planet with a few decent fields.

Running out of corn might not sound as dramatic as the second ice age of The Day After Tomorrow, but some photos from the set of Interstellar show that the disrupted weather patterns of the future aren’t making life very fun. Main Street in Fort Macleod was transformed into a sun-scorched, wind-stripped dust barrel, and both cast and crew members are seen using face masks to filter the air. These Interstellar set photos, courtesy of the Lethbridge Herald, also give us a first look at Jessica Chastain, Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace and John Lithgow in costume, which might give some clues as to which characters they’ll be playing.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE SET OF INTERSTELLAR

Note the picture of McConaughey and Lithgow’s characters sharing a car ride, which could mean that they’re playing a father and son in the film. Establishing family ties back on Earth would be a good way of upping the stakes for the characters (McConaughey’s character is also wearing a wedding ring). At this point it’s not yet known which of the actors will play the scientists who go through the wormhole, which ones will stay behind on Earth, or if any of them will be playing characters that the scientists meet after traveling through the wormhole.

Not shown in these set photos are recently-revealed cast member Matt Damon, who will be on set for two weeks of the four month shoot to film a small role, and other announced actors including Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2) and Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises).

Can you spot any more clues about Interstellar‘s story and characters in these set photos? Share your thought on the climate change/crop famine plot elements with us in the comments.

Interstellar opens in regular and select IMAX theaters on November 7th, 2014.

Source: Fort Macleod Gazette & Lethbridge Herald (via CBM)