Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite filmmakers of my lifetime. He’s the director of my second favorite film of all time, The Dark Knight. I’ll never forget the first time Inception blew my mind and I’ll never forget the experience of seeing Interstellar in theaters. Christopher Nolan is a master of his craft and I respect him endlessly.
I also, however, think he’s been acting like quite a pompous douchebag ever since the pandemic rolled around, to put it lightly.
Let’s wind the clocks back to last Summer, as the world was in the throes of a pandemic with no vaccine in sight. Nolan, obsessed with the idea of being the man to “save cinema”, strongarmed Warner Bros. into releasing the genuinely incoherent TENET into theaters in August. That move not only lost Warner Bros. $50 million dollars, according to recent reports, but it also likely informed their decision to release all of their 2021 films on HBO Max.
This pivot, of course, struck a chord with Nolan, who released a self-aggrandizing statement just a day after Warner Bros’ made their decision, declaring that “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” The pretentiousness was almost farcical.
As a result of his riff with Warner Bros., Nolan put himself and his upcoming project — a film about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb” — on the market, eventually landing at Universal Pictures, and now, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we know exactly what Nolan asking for:
• Total creative control
• $100M budget
• $100M marketing budget
• At least 100 days in theaters
• 20% of first dollar gross
• Studio can’t release another film 3 weeks before or after his
Nolan’s passion for the medium of cinema is obvious, no doubt about it. But at that same time, his sense of self-importance is approaching truly megalomaniac levels. For all the fuss, TENET — pandemic or not — was *not* a good movie. Let’s hope his film about the atom bomb is the opposite.