PROFILE
Name:
Christopher Nolan
Birth Date:
July 30, 1970
Birth Place:
London, England, UK
Height:
5' 11" (1.80 m)
Nationality:
British
BIOGRAPHY
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Memento Maker

Background:

"I think there's a vague sense out there that movies are becoming more and more unreal. I know I've felt it." Christopher Nolan.

Academy Award-nominating filmmaker Christopher Nolan garnered critical praise for writing and directing the mind-bending psychological thriller Memento (2000). He then went to helm such successful films as Insomnia (2002; starring Al Pacino, Hilary Swank and Robin Williams), Batman Begins (2005; Christian Bale) and the soon-to-be released The Prestige (2006; starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, David Bowie and Scarlett Johansson). He is also announced to direct the sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, in which Christian Bale will return to play the title role opposite Heath Ledger as The Joker.

The 5' 11" tall, London-born filmmaker (he has both US and UK citizenship) has three children with his longtime-producer wife, Emma Thomas.

"I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott and certainly when I was a kid. Alien, Blade Runner just blew me away because they created these extraordinary worlds that were just completely immersive. I was also an enormous Stanley Kubrick fan for similar reasons." Christopher Nolan.


Truly Chris

Childhood and Family:

"I never considered myself a lucky person. I'm the most extraordinary pessimist. I truly am." Christopher Nolan.

In London, England, Christopher Johnathan James Nolan was born on July 30, 1970. Son of a British father and an American mother, Nolan spent his childhood moving back and forth between United Kingdom and the United States, and has both US and UK citizenship. He has an older brother, Matt, with whom he began making movies using his father's super 8mm camera. He is also the brother of screenwriter and author Jonathan Nolan (born in 1976) and the nephew of actor John Nolan (born on May 22, 1938).

"I studied English Literature. I wasn't a very good student, but one thing I did get from it, while I was making films at the same time with the college film society, was that I started thinking about the narrative freedoms that authors had enjoyed for centuries and it seemed to me that filmmakers should enjoy those freedoms as well." Christopher Nolan.

Christopher Nolan, nicknamed Chris, studied English Literature at University College London while filming several short films in the college film society. The red and green color-blinded and left-handed filmmaker married his longtime producer, Emma Thomas in 1997. Nolan resides in Los Angeles with his wife and their three children.


Behind The Camera

Career:

"I've always loved films. I started making films when I was seven years old and I haven't stopped. I never really thought about doing anything else. What I love are films that create their own particular geography, a particular world and immerse you in it for a couple of hours.” Christopher Nolan.

Seven-year-old Christopher Nolan began making war movies with his older brother Matt using their father's super 8mm camera and his toy action figures. At the university, the aspiring filmmaker began making 16mm films in the college film society. In 1989, he made a short film called Tarantella, which later received airing on PBS in USA. And in 1996, his another short film, Larceny (actor Jeremy Theobald made his acting debut), was screened at the Cambridge Film Festival. The next year, he recruited Theobald again to star in his three-minute surreal film, Doodlebug.

Nolan made his feature directorial debut with the crime-thriller Following (1998; he also wrote the screenplay), about a young unemployed writer who follows strangers he sees on the streets. The extremely low-budgeted film enjoyed great success at numerous international film festivals (including Rotterdam, Slam Dance, Newport and Hong Kong) prior to being released theatrically in the U.S., U.K., France and various other territories.

“Following (1998) was a film that I made knowing I couldn't get any money for it, knowing that I was going to have to pay for it myself. I wasn't a wealthy person. Everyone involved in the film was, you know, working full-time and trying to get by in London, which is difficult and expensive. But we figured out that if you shot in 16mm black and white, which made the lighting much easier to set up, we could shoot 15 minutes of footage every week, and pay for that, and keep going one day a week as we earned money through our various jobs. So it took us three or four months, shooting one day a week, to finish the production. It's probably the cheapest feature ever made, for what that's worth.” Christopher Nolan.

During the screening of Following at the Hong Kong film festival, Nolan raised money for his second feature, Memento, a neo-noir/psychological thriller based on his brother Jonathan's short story "Memento Mori" about a man who struggles to find himself within rag-tag moments of his past. The film, starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano, was released in 2000 to widespread critical acclaim. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Original Screenplay and Editing, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. It was also honored by the Los Angeles Film Critics and Broadcast Film Critics, as well as winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

“In the case of Memento, I absolutely had not intended to make another film with a fractured chronology, because I felt pretty good about how I had explored it in Following. But when it came to my brother's short story, the first thing we said to each other was, ‘It's most interesting told from a third-person point of view.’ And the structure of the film was from the process of sitting and thinking about how you put the audience into the position of somebody who doesn't know what's just happened.” Christopher Nolan.

Fresh from the success of Memento, Nolan helmed a 2002 English-language remake of a 1997 Norwegian film, Insomnia, for Warner Bros. Pictures, Section 8 and Witt-Thomas Films. The mind bending psychological thriller, about a police officer investigating a murder above the Arctic Circle and suffering insomnia, starred Academy Award Winners Al Pacino, Hilary Swank and Robin Williams.

Explaining the reason why he remade Insomnia, Nolan said: “To me, it's a question of seeing this film that I absolutely loved, and that I thought was perfect and unimproveable. But I thought that the narrative situation could be taken in a very different direction by setting it in a very different arena, namely the context of the type of American studio film that used to get made 50 years ago. Setting it in that arena totally transforms the nature of the moral paradox; in the original, it's completely fascinating, but I had no interest in attempting to redo that.”

In 2005, Nolan directed and co-wrote (with David S. Goyer) the fifth Caped Crusader installment, Batman Begins, which starred Christian Bale as the title role. The superhero film was both a critical and financial success. It was nominated an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography and has become a solid box office hit, ranking as the third biggest blockbuster of the summer.

"Superheroes fill a gap in the pop culture psyche, similar to the role of Greek mythology. There isn't really anything else that does the job in modern terms. For me, Batman is the one that can most clearly be taken seriously. He's not from another planet, or filled with radioactive gunk. I mean, Superman is essentially a god, but Batman is more like Hercules: he's a human being, very flawed, and bridges the divide." Christopher Nolan.

More recently, Nolan just completed directing his latest film, The Prestige (he also co-wrote the screenplay with brother Jonathan), based on Christopher Priest's award winning 1995 novel about rival magicians working in early-20th-century London. In the film, Nolan reunited with his Batman Begins stars Christian Bale and Michael Caine. It also stars Hugh Jackman, David Bowie, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo and Andy Serkis. Filmed from January to April 2006 in Colorado, The Prestige was on track for an October 20, 2006 release.

“It’s a pretty fascinating world and something that’s never really been seen before in films actually which makes it kind of exciting. It’s a bit smaller than Batman was but I think equally compelling.” Christopher Nolan (on The Prestige (2006)).

For his upcoming project, Nolan is announced to direct the sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, The Dark Knight. Christian Bale will return to portray the title role, opposite new cast member Heath Ledger, who will play the Caped Crusader’s arch-nemesis, The Joker. A pre-shoot for the film will take place in January 2007 and is slated to be released sometime in June 2008.

Commenting on the title The Dark Knight, which is the first live-action Batman film to not actually have the word "Batman" in its title, Nolan simply said: The title has been chosen very specifically. It's quite important to the film.”

Nolan is also reportedly working on other upcoming projects, including The Exec, based upon the graphic novel of the same name, The Keys To The Street, adapted from the Ruth Rendell novel, and The Prisoner, a feature version of the 1967 TV series classic.

"And as I got older I got more interested in films that I had not grown up with - sort cinema people like Nicolas Roeg, Syney Lumet and John Frankenheimer." Christopher Nolan.


Awards:

  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Best Writing, Batman Begins, 2006
  • London Critics Circle Film: British Director of the Year, Insomnia, 2003
  • AFI: Screenwriter of the Year, Memento, 2002
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2002
  • Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2002
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association: Russell Smith Award, Memento, 2002
  • Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2002
  • Independent Spirit Awards: Best Director, Memento, 2002
  • Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2002
  • London Critics Circle Film: British Screenwriter of the Year, Memento, 2002
  • MTV Movie Awards: Best New Filmmaker, Memento, 2002
  • Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2001
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2001
  • Sundance Film Festival: Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, Memento, 2001
  • Toronto Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, Memento, 2001
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