We’re getting into the thick of awards season, folks. That means the buzz around the best films of the year is building and those involved with the films get hounded by the press. Speaking with Deadline and Movieline, Christopher Nolan and Guy Pearce, respectively, talked about the films they worked on this year that are getting all the buzz. For Christopher Nolan that’s Inception. He gave a lengthy and rousing interview to Mike Fleming of Deadline just the other day. They talked about the 10-year scripting process Inception underwent, making it in the studio system, as well as some of the technological approaches taken with the film, and more. One of the moments of the interview I found most interesting was when Chris talks about keeping the audience in mind when working on such a potentially confusing film. He clearly treats his audience with great respect, and it’s really refreshing to hear.
The most stressful and difficult part of steering a large movie like Inception is that you are taking on the responsibility of communicating with a very wide audience. You can’t ever hide behind the notion of, ‘Okay, they just don’t get it,’ or, ‘Certain people just don’t get it.’ You have to be mindful of the size of your audience, and you have to communicate in a way that lets them in. That can be difficult when you’re trying to do something more challenging. There really is a delicate balance between presenting people with elements that are unfamiliar, but still giving them an entertaining experience for their willingness to come on that ride with you and accept a certain degree of confusion. That’s the most difficult thing, but it’s also a challenge I’ve very much enjoyed over the last few films.
Another favorite moment of the interview of mine is when Chris discusses working on such a secretive yet complex project with actors, and being considerate of their needs.
The challenge is striking a balance between allowing the actor going to work on the project to feel in collusion, and like they’ll be genuine creative collaborators. When you go to an actor like Leonardo DiCaprio you have to be extremely respectful of his creative role in things. You have to embrace him as a fully-authorized collaborator. It was very important to show him a complete script and talk to him over a number of days and fill him in on every aspect of what I was going to do with it. But a guy like Leo is happy to do that within the context of privacy, and he was very gracious about understanding that if he didn’t want to do the movie, he wasn’t going to go around town telling everybody about it. You have to trust that in people. For me, getting into a collaboration with an actor is about trust, both ways. It was a great pleasure working with new people like Leo on this film. We had a lot of creative collaboration on the script once he came onboard; it became a hugely valuable part of the process. I don’t ever like to feel myself in the position to demand of an actor that they trust I’m going to do something worthwhile. I feel a responsibility to articulate what it is I’m going to do. Whether that’s showing them a full script or sitting down with them and describing my ideas in detail. It’s a very healthy burden on me as a film director to be able to articulate what I want to do, to inspire actors, rather than just saying, take it on trust I’ll be able to do something worthwhile.
As I said before, the interview is quite lengthy so head over to Deadline to check out the whole thing.
Refreshingly, getting a fair amount of attention recently has been Guy Pearce. Guy has two small parts in two very buzz-worthy films, The King’s Speech and Animal Kingdom. He recently spoke to Movieline’s Mike Ryan about working on those projects. The conversation about those films is engaging enough, but where it gets really interesting is when Mike asks guy about working with Nolan 10 years ago on Memento.
I mean, it’s hard to know how people will turn out. I hate to bandy the word “genius” around, but this guy… this guy has got it covered. Like he’s got everything covered. And I think, when I look at his work… Funnily enough I only saw Inception just recently and thought, There’s nothing that this guy can’t do. I saw a great interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was saying that the great thing about Chris is he not only can give audiences exactly what they want to see as far as the big picture stuff, but he is so dedicated to actors and performance and subtlety. Which I have very vivid memories of that experience with Chris and his focus on my performance. And he got that performance out of me. You know what I mean? He created that performance. He’s got so much intellectual energy that he can do 50 things at once and do them all extremely well. So there’s sort of no stopping a guy like that. And because he’s got such great ideas, he can write scripts like that.
Hopefully one of Nolan’s future scripts has a role right for Guy Pearce. I really enjoy his work, and he doesn’t really get the chance to showcase it enough – which happens to also be a topic of conversation in the Movieline interview. Head over there now to scope out the entire piece.
The Oscar nominations announcement will be on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 8:30am. And the Golden Globes air Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 8pm EST on NBC.