Arguably one of the greatest film directors since the turn of this century, Christopher Nolan turns 46 on July 30. With iconic movies such as Memento, The Dark Knight and Inception, he has proven his flair and passion for mind-boggling plots that test the intelligence of his audiences. Remembering the man on his birthday, here are ten interesting facts about the master of modern-day psychological thrillers:
1. He is Hollywood's success mogul
All eight of Nolan's mainstream movies have been critical and box-office successes. Collectively, his films have amassed over $4.2 billion globally and have earned a total of 26 Oscar nominations.
2. He is a self-made man
Nolan is a literature graduate who never attended film school. His first feature was Following, a ￡3,000-budget film that was entirely funded by him. Following was filmed with friends, and shot on weekends, using amateur equipment. The film netted over ￡240,000 worldwide and won several awards.
3. Michael Caine has featured in all of Nolan's last six films
Christopher Nolan considers Sir Michael Caine as his “lucky charm” and has a close group of trusted personnel in most of his projects. His wife, Emma Thomas, has co-produced all his movies. His screenwriter-author brother, Jonathan Nolan, music director Hans Zimmer and cinematographer Wally Pfister are other well-known regulars on his sets.
4. He never makes movies in 3D
According to Nolan, “the whole point of photography is that it is three dimensional”, and so refuses to shoot with 3-D cameras. While most production houses nowadays have taken the digital route, Nolan is adamant about shooting on film stock.
5. He does not use a mobile phone or email
That's right, Nolan prefers being “old-school”, and even prohibits the use of mobile phones on set. He gets his assistant to print out important emails instead.
6. He has never won an Oscar or a BAFTA award
Although nominated on several occasions, Christopher Nolan has never won an Academy Award or the British Academy Film Award. He joins a list of renowned directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Fincher to have not won the Oscar. Not bad company to be in!
7. Nolan is a huge fan of Star Wars and James Bond
His favourite movie is On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Growing up as an admirer of Star Wars, he even created a stop-motion animation called Space Wars, at the age of eight.
8. He is red and green colour-blind
This plays a major role in lighting and he designs his movies accordingly. And for all the southpaws out there, Nolan is left-handed too.
9. Irrfan Khan turned down Nolan's offer to star in Interstellar
The role of Dr Mann in Nolan's Interstellar was initially offered to Indian actor Irrfan Khan, but he declined, as he was busy with the promotions of his film The Lunchbox. The role later went to Matt Damon.
10. His movies have a common theme
One fascinating element about all of Nolan's movies is that they have an open ending. Irrespective of the genre, his films have a deep philosophical or sociological theme where he tries exploring human morality. Famous lines by leading characters in his films are used regularly in real-life contexts as inspirational quotes. After all, “We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are”.
Christopher Nolan's next film, Dunkirk―an action-thriller set in World War 2―is in the post-production stage and will be released in July 2017.