Exclusive !!!! Christopher Nolan talks Howard Hughes & Jim Carrey at Edinburgh IFF

Discussion in 'Movies' started by oscar_merkx, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hello
    I just returned from a 2 hour masterclass event with Chritopher Nolan of Memento & Insomnia hosted by Shane Daniels, Head of the Edinburgh International Film Festival held at the local UGC Cinema today.
    I have tons of notes that I will post later tonight yet I had to post the latest news about his forthcoming feature.
    He is prepping a biopic about Howard Hughes with Jim Carrey starring in this. There was so much Christopher Nolan talked about that I will come back tonight and post the transcript.
    Until later
    Oscar Merkx
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  2. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hi I am back with hopefully a complete transcript. There was so much information crammed into these two hours.
    Here goes
    Shane Danielsen, Artistic Director of the Festival introduced Christopher Nolan to a thunderous welcome.
    Immediately delved into his first feature film called Following, a B&W film shot with handheld cameras in 1997.
    As he did not have enough money and a full time job, he gathered a few friends on saturdays for a year long to film and shoot 15 minutes of takes. The budget was extremely low
    £ 3000,- and a healthy dosis of common sense. He was asked if he thought this would hinder him with only day to shoot in the week, where he replied no, because he loves to make movies and he has been doing this since he was 9 years old. He knew what he was doing and saw this as continuation. Since this was shot in London, the additional problem was that he was unable to record any dialogue that was filmed on the streets because of the noise. A clip was shown of Following with the handheld camera where he talked us through this. Basically it was somebody coming down a staircase from above ground to lower level where this pub was situated. One of the people knew the owner of the pub and was like why not film here and as compensation, he appeared in the film, so I guess this is what low budget is like.
    He then talked how the movie got his following (no pun intended), the very first screening was at the San Francisco Film Festival. You might ask yourself, shoot a movie in London and being shown in SF ? Well, the answer lies in the fact that he is half English and half American, and he was adament about doing everything himself, so did not ask for a grant. Instead he show his finished version there after SF agreed to strike a 16 mmm print transferred to 35 mm. This would cost him £ 10000,- or 3 times the movie budget. Very ironic indeed. The great story about this is that they were so impressed by the screening for 400 people that by the time it was shown in Toronto for the second screning, Nolan had a distribution deal for Following in place. Basically being there at the right time and have no expectation whatsoever. Simply a love for film.
    Slamdance Festival was the 3rd place it was shown and it was here that he was working on his brother's script of Mememto that he was trying to sell at the same time.
    He talks about how long the process it took him to get his projects off the ground and from what I am hearing is that he was always in the right place at the right time. He was intrigued by the fact that so many movies end up hitting a brick wall once they are finished and the hard part is getting it in the theaters. He saw this as another opportunity to move on and have fun.
    If you look at Memento as being difficult to get made was smply not true. He had a budget of around 4 million dollars and the only compromise he saw was that he had to account for everything to the studio. The success of Mememto lies in its casting according to Nolan as Guy Pearce simply loved the script as did Carrie Ann Moss & Joe Pantoliano who were gripped by the first person narrative that made it very easy to be enthusiastic about the film. Whereas a producer would not understand this as he is only interested in trying to get the movie made.
    He was asked whether or not the audience would get this movie when they saw it, his answer was that audiences are smarter than studios would like to think as they put out a lot of garbage.
    Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum is a direct influnce on him for this movie, agrees with the fact that the movie is very ambiguous indeed and that the story resolves itself through the end because the script is so well written and took nearly 6 months to complete. He likes to move between B&W and Colour as long it progresses the story.
    Because Insomnia was about to be released here in the UK, he did not talk much about it, although he talked a great deal about the casting of Al Pacino and his icon status as the greatest actor around today. He admits to not having seen the original on purpose so that he would have his own version. Very reminiscent of Bogart's Key Largo he adds.
    Again, there is a parallel with his previous movie Following, as it was during production of Memento that he come across the script done by I think Hilary Sykes ( I could be wrong here as there was so much info during the talk) and Warner Bros had the movie rights.
    Initially he was not supposed to direct Insomnia, and it was a phone call from Steven Soderbergh to WB that they decided to let Nolan direct Insomnia. Steven Soderbergh is also the executive producer of the movie, and he helped him make the transition from an independent to a studio director
    So all in all a marvellous talk which was interrupted once because an audience member had to be taken to hospital because of feeling unwell.
    His three major British influences are Ridley Scott, Alan Parker and Adrian Lynne and does not like the advent of Digital Video.
    He briefly talked about his next feature, that of the Howard Hughes biopic with Jim Carrey. Sounds promising.
    No doubt I must have left stuff out and if I have then I will add more.
    I had no idea that Following would be on DVD, so I checked Amazon and here is the link
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...roduct-details
    Cheers
    Oscar
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  3. Ziv L

    Ziv L Agent

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    Wow!! it was great reading all of this!!! thanks Oscar!
     
  4. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    you are welcome
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  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Cool, thanks much for sharing Oscar! I thought Nolan's next project was Batman, though... Martin Scorsese's already halfway through filming his own Howard Hughes biopic "The Aviator" with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.

    This does indeed make things interesting.
     
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    just remember that this was in 2002 and not this year
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