Christopher Nolan Talks 3D, IMAX & 'Inception'

Christopher Nolan filming

No worries, director Christopher Nolan isn't falling into the 3D trap. Not yet, at least. Collider recently interviewed the director of Inception and asked the right questions, even getting some technical details on the filming process and his opinion on the 3D hysteria.

I'll say right off the bat that to me, Christopher Nolan is the best filmmaker alive and every word he utters is gold, but I recognize not everybody agrees with that. So, instead of just copying his entire interview, I'll do my best to narrow it down.

Nolan discussed, in complete detail, how they shot Inception. Considering his passion for the IMAX camera, once even saying he'd like to shoot an entire film in the 70mm format. Instead, he shot Inception in mostly anamorphic 35 mm, with certain scenes in 65 mm or VistaVision. This gives him the best possible quality without using IMAX. I'll let the man speak for himself to elaborate.

"We didn't feel that we were going to be able to shoot in IMAX because of the size of the cameras because this film, given that it deals with a potentially surreal area, the nature of dreams and so forth, I wanted it to be as realistic as possible."

"So we have the highest quality image of any film that's being made and that allows us to reformat the film for any distribution form that we'd like to put it in."

This goes back to something SR writer Kofi Outlaw mentioned regarding the desire to see films in IMAX not shot in the format. Inception will be as close as any movie has ever come to shooting in IMAX without using the bulky and intrusive camera. That said, it is still not IMAX, but when you see it on the massive screens, it should be extremely difficult to tell a difference. You're talking a 5mm difference in the film strip there. That's a big advantage over reformatting a 35mm film to fit an IMAX screen.

Inception Poster

When it came to discussing the 3D revolution, Nolan had an intriguing and fresh perspective on the subject. With Warner Bros. announcing all their tentpole films from here out will be released in 3D, this is an important conversation to have with the likely director of Batman 3.

"It's something we're looking at and watching. There are certain limitations of shooting in 3D. You have to shoot on video, which I'm not a fan of. I like shooting on film. And so then you're looking at post-conversion processes which are moving forward in exciting ways."

The way he worded that response is your typical Christopher Nolan professionalism. Clearly he doesn't want to shoot in 3D, but I think he is aware it will eventually be a part of his work. So, while he is keeping a close eye on it, and hopefully working on a way to revolutionize it to work for his vision (a la James Cameron), you won't see him aching to shoot a 3D Gotham any time soon.

Going back to Inception, Nolan talked about the creative process and some small hints as to the story bleed through if you look hard enough. We already know the core idea of it, but the picture becomes slightly clearer each time, while still maintaining the veil of mystery it is thriving on.

"I think over the last 10 years it stayed in my head as a concept and as a really exciting sort of narrative structural idea and this sort of heist movie thing that's going on with the film."

"I think Leo coming on board has been really the end of that process for me because with his attention to the emotional life of the character and what that should mean to the audience, I think I finally found that emotional connection with the material that I depend on as a filmmaker."

The hard work and time put into the project, which Nolan pins at around 9 or 10 years in the interview, should be proof enough the film will not disappoint. Considering the genius work at the hands of Nolan in his career, it should be safe to assume he has created something unique and complete, both visually and emotionally. Not to mention, Leonardo DiCaprio's stunning career has been filled with complex and believable characters, which this movie will need in its bizarre look.

On a different note, I found it very interesting what Nolan had to say about the tone of his films in general, specifically the Batman franchise.

"I'm sort of surprised that people would think of [the Batman films] as having a dark tone because, to me, they're actually very optimistic and they're actually full of, I think, emotionally positive things as well as negative things. And I think that balance of light and dark is something I look for in a story."

I've always felt Nolan's films center around characters experiencing isolation in one form or another and that is the driving force of his conflicts. Dark and light are terms thrown around with ease by people in regards to movies, but calling your film "The Dark Knight" isn't exactly preventing the idea. While I don't necessarily agree with Nolan about the optimism, I will be looking closer to understand what he means by it as I continue to watch his films.

At the forefront of a potentially massive blockbuster this summer, Christopher Nolan and Co. have been managing the promotional process like titans and are slowly giving us more reasons to anticipate Inception, as if we needed it. It's nice to hear the film's IMAX release will be close to the real thing, but I sure hope he can find a way to make 3D work for him before he inevitably implements it.

What do you think about Nolan's vision of the future of film? How about his confidence in DiCaprio and the story? Is there even a slight chance Inception could miss the mark?

Inception releases July 16, 2010.

Source: Collider

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