Nolan and star Matthew McConaughey made their first ever appearances at the annual fan convention to support their sci-fi film. It was such a big deal, it overshadowed The Rock.
Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey at the Paramount Pictures panel at San Diego Comic-Con on July 24.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
SAN DIEGO — Director Christopher Nolan and actor Matthew McConaughey paid a surprise visit to the annual fan convention Comic-Con on Thursday, to promote their upcoming sci-fi film Interstellar. Capping off an 80-minute panel for Paramount Pictures, Nolan and McConaughey made their first ever appearances at the convention, and the 6,000-plus person crowd in the convention center's Hall H greeted them like rock stars.
"Well, I heard a lot about this place being the most passionate about movies and pop culture in general," said Nolan about why he finally chose to visit Comic-Con (after declining to appear for any of the Dark Knight trilogy). "I wanted to see what the fuss was all about." The crowd roared in approval, causing Nolan to add with a chuckle: "And judging by the crowd here, I'm not disappointed."
After a brief interview by Entertainment Weekly editor Matt Bean and a few quick audience questions, Nolan unveiled the newest trailer for his film, which he said will be released to the public at some point in the near future (likely attached to a major August release, like Guardians of the Galaxy or Paramount's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). The film itself opens Nov. 7.
The trailer set up the same dilemma previewed in previous trailers: Humanity is struggling to survive after severe climate change has depleted the food supply. "We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars," says McConaughey's character over shots of dying crops and dust-covered cars and homes. "Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt." His character is then recruited to pilot an interstellar mission to hunt for another hospitable planet for humanity to relocate to, a mission with no clear chance of his return, which upsets his children, especially his daughter (Mackenzie Foy).
Timothée Chalamet, Matthew McConaughey, and Mackenzie Foy in Interstellar.
The rest of the trailer featured brand new scenes of what that mission would entail — with McConaughey and fellow astronauts played by Anne Hathaway and David Oyelowo visiting planets that appear barren, icy, or filled with vast oceans filled with enormous waves. Nolan's ambition here appears to be nothing less than epic; during the panel, he specifically cited Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as a key inspiration and guide for this movie. "We really have an ambition with this film, not to do what that film did, because I don't think we ever could," he said, "but to tell a similarly ambitious story in terms of the scope and scale."
To that end, Nolan said that he tried to provide "as much reality for the actors as possible," which included giving them something to actually look at outside their spaceship windows instead of a giant green screen. Nolan declined to explain how he went about achieving this effect, however. "I want you to come see the film!"
Nolan also cited Star Wars and Blade Runner as inspirations, but, keeping in character with his aversion to spoiling too much of his film before audiences have seen it, Nolan didn't want to say much more. "I wouldn't want to give too complete a list [of my sci-fi inspirations], because then when you see the film, you'll see all the things I've ripped off," Nolan said, to much laughter. "And I'm not joking when I say that."