The Secrets of the Inception Press Junket Revealed: Part Two

By  · Published on July 17th, 2010

Today I pick up where I left off, sharing press conference goodies from Christopher Nolan and the stars of Inception.

Cillian Murphy on working with Christopher Nolan, and his character:

Cillian Murphy: I’ve been very fortunate to work with Chris three times now, briefly on The Dark Knight, and – it’s always a real privilege and a real pleasure. This was particularly exciting to work with this great bunch of actors and, um…the character was sort of something new to me. It was really interesting to explore that, because I guess in terms of the film, the structure of the film, he’s sort of like the mark – but he’s got a lot more layers to him. He’s a lot more complex than what you would get from a traditional heist film. It was great to talk to Chris and explore what we can bring to that character, because he does sort of, by accident, get to work stuff out. You know, the relationship with his father and things. It was a brilliant experience. The atmosphere and the environment that you get on a Chris Nolan film – it’s a place where you feel very safe and um, very confident and able to experiment with the characters. It’s a great place to be as an actor.

Leonardo DiCaprio possibly playing J. Edgar Hoover:

Leonado DiCaprio: Yeah, I’m talking to Clint Eastwood about playing Hoover, who had his hand in some of the most sort of scandalous events in American history. You know, everything from the Vietnam War to Dillinger, to Martin Luther King Jr., and JFK. It’s going to span his life.

Christopher Nolan on the nature of dreams and coming up with the concept of architects:

Christopher Nolan: I don’t actually tend to do a lot of research when I’m writing. I took the approach when I was writing Inception that I did when I was writing Memento, about memory and memory loss. I tend to examine my own process, which in this case was dreaming, and in Memento’s case, memory – and try and analyze how that works and how that may be changed and manipulated. How a rule set might emerge for my own process. A lot of what happens when you do research is just confirming things you want to do. If the research contradicts what you want to do, you tend to go ahead and do it anyway. So, at a certain point you realize that if you’re trying to reach an audience, being as subjective as possible and trying to write from something genuine is the way to go and so, really – it’s mostly from my own process, my own experience.

On Inception not being shot in 3D:

Christopher Nolan: I decided that I didn’t have enough time to do it to the standard that I would have liked, and it’s perfectly possible to post-convert a film to 3D very well – but, I like not wearing glasses when I watch a movie, and I like being able to watch a very bright, submersive image, so I think at the end of the day I’m extremely happy to be putting the film out on 35mm film prints very brightly projected, with the highest possible image quality. That’s what really excites me.

Christopher Nolan on pitching the film:

Christopher Nolan: When I first pitched the studio the project, it was about ten years ago, I had just finished Insomnia – really the pitch was very much the movie you’ve seen, but I’d not yet really figured out the emotional core of the story. That took me a long time to do. I think I sort of grew into the film in a sense. I had the heist thing, and I had the relationship of architecture and dreams and the idea you would use and architect to design a dream for somebody else and all of that. All of those things were in place for several years, but it took me a long time to sort of find this idea of emotionally connecting with the story. When I looked at heist movies, I knew I wanted it to feel like a heist movie, they tend to be almost deliberately superficial; they tend not to have high emotional stakes, and what I realized over the years, and the thing I got stuck on – that doesn’t work when you talk about dreams. The whole thing about the human mind when you talk about dreams is, it has to have emotional consequences and resonances. So, that was really my process over the years was, finding my relationship with the love story, the tragedy of it. The emotional side.

Leonardo DiCaprio on doing a film like Shutter Island and Inception back-to-back, and the similarities between the dreamworld his characters inhabit:

Leonardo DiCaprio: I think it was something I was certainly aware of, but as far as both of them sort of being locked into this dreamworld and going on some sort of cathartic journey throughout the course of the film – that’s about where the similarities ended. This film couldn’t have been more vastly different than the other in its execution and so, I felt safe and completely aware of trying my best not to repeat any of those themes.

Christopher Nolan on this being his first original screenplay for a big budget film:

Christopher Nolan: The interesting thing about an original concept, particularly with the ten year gap it took me from my initial set of ideas and finishing the screenplay – by the time you get there, you’ve lived with those ideas so long, it’s really not very different from working from somebody else’s story for example, as with Memento when I adapted my brother’s short story – the same thing happens. You take on this story as your own. Since the screenwriting process is a very long one for me; it takes years to put a script together, by the time you get there at the end it starts to feel a little irrelevant as to where you started from. The experience has been quite similar in fact.

Inception is in theaters now.

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