SAN DIEGO – After many rumors and wild media speculation, “Interstellar” director Christopher Nolan and star Matthew McConaughey surprised Comic-Con's Hall H crowd by making their first appearances at the pop culture festival. And once they hit the stage, it seemed somewhat likely that a new trailer would be screened for the audience. More intriguingly, the duo provided more details on how the movie came to be and what to expect this November.
McConaughey, who had shockingly never made it to Comic-Con before, came out first to a wild standing ovation. He revealed he first met for Nolan for three hours without the movie ever being brought up or discussed. “I remember leaving thinking, what was that about,” McConaughey recalled. “He liked meeting me and a week later I got the script. I liked it quite a lot and I was in.”
His character, Cooper, a pilot, engineer and widowed father of two children. According to the recent Best Actor Oscar winner, the near-future world “Interstellar” is set in is a society that is “just sustaining. There is barely enough clean water or food and no space exploration to really speak of. Things change, however.
“The dream of being a pilot comes on his door again,” McCaunghey said. “He gets to lead a great mission. He's got to leave a family. Leave two kids. That's part of what my man Cooper has to go through.”
As for working with Nolan, McConaughey said the “Inception” helmer is “always out for original. You're aware of his films. Everything he wants to do is original. He will not repeat that. He wants an original take on everything. He works on his instincts completely.”
In fact, the “Dallas Buyers Club” star said Nolan knows the world he's created so well that he shoots only two or three takes. As he told HitFix last year, he again noted that filming “Interstellar” felt like many of the independent films that have revived his career.
At that point, McConaughey teased that he couldn't reveal more, but maybe someone else could. Then Nolan, who has directed such genre classics as the aforementioned “Inception” and, obviously, the “Dark Knight” trilogy, earned a hero's welcome (and another standing ovation) when he hit the stage.
Certainly nervous in front of the 6,000-seat Hall H audience (though he's certainly not the first notable director to be in that position), Nolan said that after years of being asked and being unable to attend due to production issues, he thought, “I better come down and see what the fuss is about.”
“Thank you for having us,” Nolan said. “Nothing like it in the rest of the world. Thank you for all your support for our films in the past. [Comic-Con] has really been the backbone for all the success we've had in the past.”
Nolan said he's always been a fan of science fiction and that “Star Wars” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” left an incredible impression on him.
“To grow up to be an astronaut was the highest ambition,” Nolan said. “That we would keep exploring further and further out seemed inevitable. I feel that had fallen off greatly over the past couple of decades. What's in your pocket, what's in your living room. I like the idea of being in a brand new era where we are traveling out more.”
The Oscar nominee said audiences who see “Interstellar” will follow these characters on an “extraordinary journey,” one that will take them beyond this solar system. He also teased that, like Alfonso Cuarón with “Gravity,” he's used a lot of innovative techniques. He wanted to make as much of the film as real as possible.
“I'm very much hoping the experience will take the audience on that ride,” Nolan said. “For me, the thrill of making a large-scale science fiction film has to be about the journey, about the audience, and taking you guys with us.”
There was only time for three questions from the audience and it only speaks to the respect moviegoers have for the filmmaker that all of them were directed to Nolan. While he spoke a bit about Kip Thorne, a physicist who consulted on the movie, it was his response to a query on what films inspired “Interstellar” that showed Nolan at his most humble.
“I wouldn't want to give too complete a list because then when you see the film you'll see what I ripped off,” he joked (that's a lighthearted joke for Christopher Nolan). “'Blade Runner' has always been an incredible favorite of mine. I know every line, every shot. The whole gambit. I think the biggest single influence would be '2001,' which they re-released after 'Star Wars' came out, which I was able to see with my dad. [I wanted] not to do what that film did, but tell a similarly ambitious story on that scale and watch that story unfold on an enormous screen. I'm really striving for this [with 'Interstellar'].”
HitFix's Drew McWeeny will chime in later on the two-minute trailer, which can only be described as epic, but we'll leave you with one other tidbit. Did Matthew McConaughey pull out his “Alright, alright” during the panel?
Of course he did. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
“Interstellar” opens nationwide on Nov. 7.