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50 Unknown Facts About The Director Christopher Nolan

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Christopher Nolan is an English-American film director, screenwriter, and producer, who is considered to be one of the highest-grossing directors in history and also one of the most successful and acclaimed filmmakers of the 21st century. Here are some interesting facts about the director:

Christopher Nolan attends 'Interstellar Live' at Royal Albert Hall on March 30, 2015 in London, England.
(Photo : Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) Christopher Nolan attends 'Interstellar Live' at Royal Albert Hall on March 30, 2015 in London, England.
  1. Nolan is the second director to have made 2 movies – “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” that have grossed more than $1 billion in the worldwide box office, following James Cameron.
  2. However, he is the first director to have released both of his billion dollar grossing movies only in 2D as Cameron’s films “Avatar” and “Titanic” were also released in 3D.
  3. He is the first director to have made three live action film adaptations of the DC Comics character “Batman.”
  4. He was honored with the first-ever Founder’s Award from the Slamdance Film Festival in the year 2014.
  5. He was honored with a handprint and footprint ceremony on July 7, 2012 at Graceman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, becoming the youngest director ever.
  6. As of 2014, he has seven of his films on the IMDB’s “Top 250 Movies” list. Out of the total nine movies he has directed, the only two movies which missed the spot are “Insomnia” and “Following.”
    English-American film director Christopher Nolan, 12th December 2000.
    (Photo : Barbara Alper/Getty Images) English-American film director Christopher Nolan, 12th December 2000.
  7. His total nine movies together have not only grossed over $4.2 billion worldwide but have also won seven Oscar awards out of 26 nominations.
  8. In 2003, he was awarded the Sonny Bono Visionary Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
  9. The American Society of Cinematographers honored him with the Board of the Governors Award in 2009.
  10. Just in the year 2011, Nolan received a number of honorary awards including the Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award from American Cinema Editors, the Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing and the Inaugural Visionary Award from the Visual Effects Society.
  11. The same year he was also awarded with Modern Master Award by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is the highest honor presented by the festival. Talking about Nolan, the executive director of the festival Roger Durling said "Every one of Nolan's films has set a new standard for the film community, with Inception being the latest example."
  12. He is the recipient of the 2015 Cinematic Imagery Award from the Art Directors Guild (ADG). The award is an honor given to those whose body of work has "richly enhanced the visual aspects of the movie-going experience."
    Chistopher Nolan during Sundance Film Festival 2001 - Awards Ceremony at Park City Racquet Club in Park City, Utah, United States.
    (Photo : J. Vespa/WireImage) Chistopher Nolan during Sundance Film Festival 2001 - Awards Ceremony at Park City Racquet Club in Park City, Utah, United States.
  13. At the 20th Empire Awards with took place on March 29, 2015 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, England, he received the Empire Inspiration Award.
  14. In the year 2006, he was titled as an Honorary Fellow of University College London (UCL). This is a title given out to individuals "who have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science, business or public life."
  15. The Princeton University selected him as the 2015 Class Day speaker. The Class Day co-chair Hanna Kim stated "Nolan, more than a film producer, is a thinker and visionary in our age and we are thrilled to have him deliver the keynote address."
  16. Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute (BFI) named Nolan as "a persuasively inventive storyteller."
  17. Variety’s Scott Foundas declared him "the premier big-canvas storyteller of his generation."
  18. He was named the “32nd Greatest Director of All-Time” by Total Film in the year 2007.
  19. He was ranked #14 in The Guardian’s 2012 list of "The 23 Best Film Directors in the World."
  20. Entertainment Weekly in 2013 named him the “12th Greatest Working Director,” stating that "Nolan is the rare director determined to make you, the moviegoer, walk out of the theater after his film and gasp, 'I've never seen anything like that before.' His movies are full of twists and riddles, and even his popcorn fare is stuffed with enough brain candy to fill up a graduate school syllabus."
  21. He was featured in the 2015 edition of Time Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."
  22. The official Xbox magazine in 2013 listed him among “The 100 Most Important People in Games,” writing that "video games have started to look a bit like his films: gritty and complex."
  23. Noted film critic Mark Kermode complimented him for bringing "the discipline and ethics of art-house independent moviemaking" to Hollywood blockbusters, calling him the "living proof that you don't have to appeal to the lowest common denominator to be profitable.”
  24. Nolan was born as Christopher Johnathan James Nolan on July 30, 1970 in London, England, to Brendan James Nolan, an English advertising executive and Christina, an American flight attendant, who also worked as an English teacher.
  25. He has an elder brother Matthew, and a younger brother, Jonathan, who is also a screenwriter, television producer, director and author.
    Director Christopher Nolan and writer Jonathan Nolan
    (Photo : E. Charbonneau/WireImage for Disney Pictures) Director Christopher Nolan and writer Jonathan Nolan
  26. He is the first cousin of actress Miranda Nolan, who had minor roles in 2010 “Inception” and 2012 “The Dark Knight Rises.”
  27. With dual citizenship of both British and American, he spent his childhood days moving between London and Chicago.
  28. It was at the age of seven that he began making films with his father’s borrowed Super 8 camera. He used to shoot short films with his action figures. He aspired to be a professional filmmaker from the age of 11.
  29. He made a stop motion animation homage named “Space Wars,” at the age of eight, being a great admirer of the 1977 “Star Wars.”
  30. He attended Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, and later went to University College London (UCL) to do English literature. He chose UCL specifically for its filmmaking facilities, which comprised a Steenbeck editing suite and 16 mm film cameras.
  31. He was the President of the Union's Film Society and he screened 35 mm feature films during his time in school with Emma Thomas. He used the money he earned through the feature films to produce 16 mm films over the summers.
    Christopher Nolan and wife arriving at the AFI Awards 2001 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California
    (Photo : SGranitz/WireImage) Christopher Nolan and wife arriving at the AFI Awards 2001 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California
  32. Nolan directed his first feature film “Following,” in the year 1998, which he filmed with his friends. It took more than a year for just for the principal photography, as the entire cast and crew members had other full-time jobs and they were able to film only on Saturdays.
  33. He happened to come up with the concept of the movie “Following,” because he had his home broken into and wondered what the people thought as they went around looking at his belongings.
  34. “Following” was made on a modest budget of £3,000 and in order to conserve film stock the crew members rehearsed each scene extensively to make sure that either the first or second take itself could be used in the final edit. The entire movie was shot almost in a handheld, single camera.
  35. The movie was co-produced by Emma Thomas and Jeremy Theobald, while it was Nolan who wrote, photographed and edited the film all by himself. The film was well received by critics with The New Yorker stating that the “Following” has "echoed Hitchcock classics", but was "leaner and meaner."
  36. The success from “Following,” landed him his next breakthrough movie “Memento,” which is considered by numerous critics to be one of the best films of the 2000s. The movie was a box office success and even won him a number of awards and nominations. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote in his review about the movie that, "I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time."
  37. It was his brother Jonathan who pitched the idea for "Memento Mori" while a trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. Nolan developed the idea into a screenplay which told the entire story in reverse. About the script of the movie Aaron Ryder, an executive for Newmarket Films, said it was "perhaps the most innovative script I had ever seen."
  38. Before directing the 2005 movie “Batman Begins,” which was the year's ninth-highest-grossing film worldwide, Nolan had a number of projects planned including the Howard Hughes biographical film and Ruth Rendell's crime novel “The Keys to the Street.” He had to drop the Hughes biopic when he learned that Martin Scorsese was already making one. In case of “The Keys to the Street,” he had to leave the project due to similarities to his previous work.
  39. He even postponed the project “The Prestige,” released only in 2006 but was intended to be released as early as 2003, as he agreed to work on “Batman Begins.” The screenplay of “The Prestige,” was an intermittent, five-year collaboration between him and his brother Jonathan, whom he approached Jonathan for help in writing the script in 2001.
  40. It is reported that Nolan oversaw each and every shot of “Batman Begins,” as well as “The Dark Knight,” as there was no second unit while filming.
    Writer Christopher Nolan attends the 2011 Writers Guild Awards Press Room at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel on February 5, 2011 in Hollywood, California.
    (Photo : Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for WGAw) Writer Christopher Nolan attends the 2011 Writers Guild Awards Press Room at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel on February 5, 2011 in Hollywood, California.
  41. “The Dark Knight” movie, which set a number of box-office records during its theatrical run, has been cited as one of the best films of the 2000s and one of the best superhero films ever made. It is in fact the first feature film shot partially in the 15/70 mm IMAX format.
  42. Following the success with “The Dark Knight,” Warner Bros., approached Nolan to direct “Inception.” According to Cinematographer Wally Pfister, he was approached by the executives at Warner Bros., to make the film in 3D. However, he had refused the idea, claiming "it will distract the storytelling experience of Inception."
  43. It is said that during the entire production of the movie “Inception,” details of the movie’s plot were kept secret. Nolan, being the writer of the movie, described it as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller "set within the architecture of the mind."
  44. Although he was initially hesitant about making the third and final Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” he agreed to do it when he felt the story he developed with his brother Jonathan and David S. Goyer would end the series on a high note. Andrew O'Hehir of Salon called it "arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen."
  45. While discussing “The Dark Knight Rises” in the year 2010, Goyer came up with the idea to present Superman in a modern context. Nolan, who was impressed with the concept, pitched the idea for the 2013 movie “Man of Steel,” to Warner Bros. He was hired to produce the movie, while Goyer was hired to write it.
    Director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan (L) and producer Emma Thomas attends the 'Interstellar' Los Angeles premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on October 26, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
    (Photo : Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) Director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan (L) and producer Emma Thomas attends the 'Interstellar' Los Angeles premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on October 26, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
  46. His 2014 movie “Interstellar,” is the first to have him and his brother Jonathan work together on a completely original script, unlike the previous movies that were adapted from comic books, novels and short stories. In fact, it was Steven Spielberg who was to direct the movie in 2006, with Jonathan writing the screenplay. Since Spielberg chose other projects, Jonathan suggested this project to Nolan in 2012.
  47. As of 2016, Nolan is all set to direct his first historical film “Dunkirk,” based on World War II, which is scheduled for a release on July 21, 2017. Following the tradition, the director has decided to use the real naval destroyers instead of CGI for sea battle sequences in the movie. He has also chose to film the movie in a combination of 15/70mm IMAX film and Super Panavision 65mm film, over digital recording, in order to achieve the maximum possible image quality.
  48. He is married to Emma Thomas, who has co-produced all of his films including “Memento.” He met her when he was just 19 years old, during his days at the University College of London. They have four children - Flora Nolan, Rory Nolan, Oliver Nolan and Magnus Nolan. The duo have together founded the production company Syncopy Inc. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.
  49. He is known for his recurring collaborations, including his work with his brother Jonathan, On all his comic book adaptations, he has worked with screenwriter David S. Goyer, while Wally Pfister has been the cinematographer for all of his movies. Jordan Goldberg has been producing every Nolan-directed film since “The Prestige.” While Dody Dorn edited his first two movies “Memento” and “Insomnia,” Lee Smith has been the editor for all his other movies since “Batman Begins.”
  50. He does not use a cell phone or email address, and even prohibits the use of mobiles on set. Speaking about this he once said "It's not that I'm a Luddite and don't like technology; I've just never been interested. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1997, nobody really had cell phones, and I just never went down that path."

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