Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan’s pic Interstellar has supposedly been done with principal casting for a while, probably a good thing considering it’s currently filming, but with Matt Damon becoming the latest star to join the pic earlier this week (albeit outside one of the principal roles), we were reminded once again of the the truth in one of our favorite Yogi Bera quotes: “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Just as true in show business as it is in baseball.
Once Interstellar is “over,” though(with the production, anyways), we have some high expectations. Yes, there’s a mystery aspect to it. We know almost zilch about this project, except the unofficial logline:
In the future, governments and economies across the globe have collapsed, food is scarce, NASA is no more, and the 20th Century is to blame. A mysterious rip in spacetime opens and it’s up to whatever is left of NASA to explore and offer up hope for mankind.
With the caveat that Matthew McConaughey’s character is apparently called “Cooper,” we don’t even know any of the characters names. So why are we so excited? Well for one, the cast is amazing. Nolan’s put together some pretty impressive casts before, most notably the Leonardo DiCaprio-led one that was featured in Inception, but we’re of the opinion that this blows anything before out of the water. Check this out.
The movie stars:
- McConaughey, fast on the rise from an elevated starting point with upcoming films Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf on Wall Street building on a foundation of Magic Mike, The Lincoln Lawyer, We Are Marshall, and many more
- Anne Hathaway, coming off an Oscar-winning turn in Les Miserable and much acclaim as Selena Kyle in Nolan’s last pic, The Dark Knight Rises
- Jessica Chastain, who leaped onto the scene in the last couple years with Oscar-nominated roles in The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, not to mention parts in The Tree of Life and Mama
- Casey Affleck, who though not in the public eye as much as his brother has nonetheless compiled an impressive resume including the Ocean’s movies, Gone Baby Gone, the recent Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and the forthcoming Out of the Furnace
- Michael Caine, the Nolan favorite, two-time Oscar winner, and superlative star or more movies than we’ll try to list here
- David Oyelowo, fast rising star most recently on as Louis Gaines in Lee Daniels’ The Butler
- Wes Bentley, a vet of American Beauty rising fast after his turn in The Hunger Games
- Topher Grace, best known for That ’70s Show
- John Lithgow, the impressive comic star of Shrek, Harry and the Hendersons, and TV’s 3rd Rock From the Sun
- Elly Burstyn, Oscar winner for 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and more recently the star of The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream
- Mackenzie Foy, child star of the last couple Twilight movies and The Conjuring
And now Damon is in as well. That’ very impressive.
In many ways, Interstellar a new phase in Nolan’s career. A third phase, perhaps, following everything before the Dark Knight trilogy and everything during it.
Nolan’s early films were noticeably less sheeny than his more recent work, but no less impressive. His debut feature, Following, was a neo-noir psychological character study that much like his more well known Memento is an exercise in structural manipulation, with the story told across three parts of the timeline that eventually link to reveal the entire plot. Insomnia took a bit of a different tact, but was thematically very similar with its crime investigation premise, and, like much of Following and Memento, betrayed much of what has become the touchstone of Nolan’s career: questioning the nature of perception and reality.
Let us not forget that live-action Batman, not to mention live-action superhero movies in general, were still in the proving stages when Batman Begins was greenlit. There had been two pretty good X-Men movies and two good Spider-Man movies in recent years, when Begins hit theaters we were still less than a decade removed from the debacles of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. The star, Christian Bale, had landed a couple of important roles earlier in the decade, most notably American Psycho, but was hardly well known to the masses. About the closest thing you got to a wide draw other than the Batman name was Liam Neeson’s attachment. Batman Begins was hardly a sure thing.
Suffice it to say, we know how that turned out. In the space of seven years, Nolan directed five films that, while each flawed in its own way, can’t be called anything but success stories. About the closest Nolan came to a flop was 2006’s The Prestige, which still managed to double its budget in the worldwide box office and get nominated for two Academy Awards. And, of course, The Dark Knight is generally considered the finest superhero movie that has ever been made, approached (so far) in popularity among Nolan’s other films by Inception.
Interstellar and Beyond
Now that his Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films is complete (and particularly since it looks like he won’t be involved with Batman vs. Superman after co-writing and producing Man of Steel), Nolan is on to the next thing. That next thing begins with directing Interstellar and executive producing Transcendence, the directorial debut of Nolan’s favorite cinematographer, Wally Pfister (and a project worth keeping an eye on in its own right). There will be carryovers, of course. Nolan’s brother Jonathan, who wrote or co-wrote Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises also worked on Interstellar. Back as well is composer Hans Zimmer, who has worked on every Nolan film back to Batman Begins.
More interesting will be Nolan’s thematic trajectory. We mentioned earlier a propensity to ask questions about the nature of reality, especially as it applies to subjective, personal perception. This was a driving concept in Inception, but also played heavily into The Prestige, Batman Begins, and even The Dark Knight. Although we know so little about Interstellar, it would certainly seem to have the ability to move in that philosophical space. We’re curious whether Nolan will continue to offer variations on the theme (we’re not tired of the melody yet), or introduce something new.
At any rate, it’s hard not to consider Nolan one of the pre-eminent filmmakers of his generation, and for that reason, the incredible cast, and more, we’re excited to see Interstellar (not to mention whatever comes afterwards) when it hits theaters November 7, 2014.