Christopher Nolan on Why ‘Great Gatsby’ Worked, But 3D Isn't for Him

Christopher Nolan on Why 'Great Gatsby' Worked, But 3D Isn't for Him

CinemaCon 2014: “Interstellar” director is a film traditionalist

For a director whose dreamscapes and superhero adaptations continually push the boundaries of what is achievable on film, Christopher Nolan is a surprising traditionalist.

The “Interstellar” filmmaker confessed that he is not a fan of 3D and prefers to shoot on film, not digital.

“I'm committed to film not out of a sense of nostalgia,” Nolan said. “Film is the best way to capture an image.”

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He's not a luddite, he claimed. It's just that images aren't as sharp and can appear pixilated when projected or shot digitally.

“I'm in favor of any kind of technical innovation…for me it always has to exceed the technology that came before it,” Nolan explained.

Nolan argued that studios are more interested in bottom lines than beauty. Digital copies of films are less expensive to produce and ship to theaters than 35 millimeter copies of films. He suggested that studios are willing to accept technical imperfections “in the drive to make things cheaper.”

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Not all 3D is bad, Nolan argued. He praised Baz Luhrmann‘s “The Great Gatsby” as a film that used the extra dimensionality to great effect and created an atmosphere that washed over viewers. Yet, it can also have an isolating impact, Nolan suggested, one that removes viewers from a communal experience of moviegoing.

“My resistance to 3D is purely based on what I feel is right for the films I want to make,” Nolan said.

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For Nolan, the new technologies he is most interested in, relate to wide screens and sound. “Interstellar” was shot largely with IMAX cameras and the director is working with exhibitors to maximize the sound effects.

A love of film stock isn't the only thing that makes Nolan a member of cinema's old and new guards.

“You don't do enough re-releases,” Nolan told exhibitors, noting that watching films such as “Lawrence of Arabia” on the big screen “sticks with you forever.”


  • CoolwhipSpecial

    I cannot wait for this freakin’ film!

  • JoeS

    Empasis on “freakin’ film”. Digital still is inferior. Period. Nolan is spot on, here. And, 3D sucks.

  • MaStEr_MoLd

    I love Christopher Nolan as much as the next guy, but I think he's a little short-sided on his opinion of digital filming. “Film is the best way to capture an image?” Digital images can appear pixilated?? Since when? I have yet to see one pixilated movie. I love you, Chris, but I hope you step into the present with everyone else.

    • JoeS

      Take my Joe Stemme Black Test:

      Check out the black border of a movie theater screen (painted wall or black cloth). In a digitally shot and digitally projected movie, the black in the movie NEVER matches the true black of the movie theater screen border. NEVER.

      Next, in a dimly lit sceen with dark shadows, see how contrasty the image is in a digital movie is.