While Interstellar news sites are popping up left and right with the promise of bringing you set photos from the film's production, which started today, we here at Nolan Fans have decided to get out of that game pretty much altogether. It has been a tradition for us to post a dozen or more 'production updates' over the course of the development of one of Nolan's films. In our private lives we avoided most marketing as a whole. On the site we were pretty anti-spoiler and anti-footage, yet we still posted production updates containing vast amounts of unofficial set photos. Why this contradiction in principles? Set photos are unquestionably something of great interest to many readers. As the founders of this community, we wanted to appeal to our fellow fans, expand our reach, and bring in traffic to the site to keep it alive and running. But now we're challenging you to ask yourself: what's so great about set photos?
In this day and age, the internet has the ability to affect a film's fate before the director even first calls cut. Not that we're overly worried about the fate of a Christopher Nolan film, but our experience with The Dark Knight Rises has proven that we can affect the outcome of the film — for better or for worse. Buzz is an undeniable factor that plays a role in a film's gestation, and though Nolan is still in a period of his career which just about any photo generates positive buzz, it doesn't change the power that these things have.
Let's not forget the ever important spoiler factor that is deeply intertwined with, and (in my opinion) inseparable from this topic. Sure, seeing Bane in costume doesn't spoil too much. And yeah, seeing his fleet of camo Tumblers isn't going to really ruin the movie for anyone. But what about seeing Marion Cotillard in suspicious costuming? Or seeing her congregating with Bane's henchmen? Can we ignore the discrepancy between the image of her climbing into a camouflaged Tumbler with her armed bodyguards from the character's identity as presented in the trailers and first two acts of the script?
To be fair, not all set photos go so deep into revealing things best kept secret. However, they all do have the power to remove the magic from a moment. As someone who has seen a wide number of films, including several Nolan films, without any exposure set photos or marketing, I can say it's the most exciting and magical way I've experienced a movie. I've been told by friends that the truck flip in The Dark Knight lost none of it's surprise or power if you saw the set videos from the offices above LaSalle street, and I can generally believe that. I'm sure I don't need to defend the immense repeat value and magic the scene still holds on Blu-ray with any of you. But that doesn't compare to experiencing that moment for the first time in the theater exactly the way Christopher Nolan intended it one to.
No, we're not going to stop you from sharing and discussing these photos and videos amongst yourselves, or on our forums. We're not even really going to discourage you from doing so. You're free to make your own decisions. And lord knows that our forums are the best place on the internet, hands down, to get the latest updates first. But we will challenge you to rethink your position on set photos. Think about how we, as an online film community dedicated to the art of film making, affect the art of film making with our actions. Do you believe we've been a force for the betterment of the art form? You could argue so — though 2015 does appear to have next to no original big films set. So, can we be better? Definitely.
Ultimately it comes down to, in principle, the preservation of the integrity of the production, the final film, and the experience for the audience and fans. Set photos can be really unfair to a production. They don't properly convey the sets, costumes, characters, or movement the way the director intends them to. These things are being shown with improper lighting and lensing, and without any context or thematic significance. And while pondering what exploding papers and debris in an outside Paris café may have to do with the plot of Inception may be fun, or merely help pass the time, we don't want our front page to be a giant affront to a plot which Nolan went to great lengths to hide. Nor do we want to Nolan fans to be afraid to visit the Nolan fan site in fear of spoilers.
We're not the hit-hungry sites wanting your eyeballs for money. We're not the paparazzi. We are Christopher Nolan fans dedicated to being a community of film lovers discussing, analyzing, and furthering the appreciation of the art form.
We'd really like to come up with a great way to keep readers informed without compromising the integrity of the production. We're not planning on hanging you out to dry. We will continue — over the course of the next several months — to update you on the production of Interstellar. We're in contact with Paramount and Warner Bros. in the hopes of bringing you official updates and photos. We're hoping they're on board with our ideas of how to cover the production, but only time will tell. We intend to bring you informed, spoiler free information, and we hope you check back often to stay up to date. But if you're the type of person who just wants to be overloaded with photos and information, we think you should at least ask yourself why, but then join our forums to get all the information you need!