'Interstellar' Video Interview: Nolan & Cast Talk Practical Effects & Physics Confusion

Interstellar Video Interview - Chris Nolan, Matthew McConaughey


In Interstellar we follow Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot turned farmer, as he is recruited by former mentor Prof. Brand (Michael Caine) to embark on a perilous mission into space. To save humanity, Coop and his crew  travel through a wormhole to a far away galaxy, where they will hopefully find a suitable new replacement for Earth, which has started to shrug off mankind's presence via steadily failing agriculture. (Read our official review.)

As we demonstrated  in our Interstellar Ending & Space Travel Explained article, this film is full of concepts of physics (proven and theoretical) that are confusing at best, and mind-bogglingly convoluted or inaccurate at worst. And as you'll see in the video interview below, it seems that the cerebral material was just as perplexing to the cast of the film as it was to those who watched it.

Christopher Nolan and Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain were in attendance for a Q&A interview at the Academy Theater in New York City during the film's NYC premiere week. As you'll hear them tell, McConaughey and Hathaway had trouble keeping up with the plot of Interstellar even as the film was being pitched to them:

Other highlights from the interview involve Nolan talking about all the practical sets they built to create the film's outer space sequences (the "no green screen" proclamation has become a debated topic amongst cinephiles). Curiously enough, though, the VFX have not been as well received as some may have hoped; in a post-Gravity era of film, some are accusing Interstellar of falling too close to the dated look of its 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars inspirations.

Also worthy of note is how the cast and director all touch on the intimate, indie movie nature of the film's character and emotional arcs (parenting, family, love, etc.). Ironically enough, that's one of the other most common criticisms of the movie: that the cerebral theories (and exposition dumps) steal the emotional impact of Coop's journey to be reunited with his kids or moments like Amelia Brand's (Anne Hathaway) scholarly monologue about the nature of love.

Interstellar Video Interview - Chris Nolan, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway
Matthew McConaughey trying to explain 'Interstellar' to castmates (kidding).

In short: This is kind of an awkward interview. It seems as though things the cast highlights as gems of the experience are the very same things that didn't hit home the way they were intentioned to (the practical VFX). Furthermore, it seems that the very same hangups the cast themselves had during production (see: McConaughey's comments about questioning Nolan's logic throughout the shoot) ended up translating into the audience experience watching the film. That's kind of the definition of missing the mark, no?

Of course, after a Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception Christopher Nolan still has so much clout with film fans that many are unwilling (maybe even incapable) of absorbing an idea like Interstellar possibly being something of a misfire. However, it will be interesting to see where the discussion turns once the energy and excitement of opening weekend is over - and when we're looking back over Nolan's filmography, years down the line.

NEXT: Interstellar Questions Answered


Interstellar runs 169 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language. Now playing in IMAX and regular theaters.

Want to discuss SPOILERS? Head over to our InterstellarSpoilers Discussion. Have questions the film didn’t answer? Check back soon for a discussion of the film in our Interstellar episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast.

Source: Academy YouTube Page

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