ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

Christopher Nolan is one of Hollywood's biggest directors, with his films grossing over $3.5 billion worldwide. But despite the director having earned enough clout with studios to go well over budget on his blockbusters, he's actually returned money to studios on his last four films.

Christian Bale and Tom Hardy with Christopher Nolan
Christian Bale and Tom Hardy with Christopher Nolan

That's right, and this fact is even more surprising when you consider that Nolan's last four films have been Interstellar (2014), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight (2008) – all massive blockbusters requiring huge crews and star-studded casts. Talk about a recipe for a budget disaster!

But it's not just luck that Nolan continually comes in under budget on his films, it's actually the result of the 45-year-old making a very conscious effort to stay on target.

Nolan with Matthew McConaughey on the set of Interstellar
Nolan with Matthew McConaughey on the set of Interstellar

In an interview with the Guardian in November 2014 just before the release of Interstellar, Nolan's co-producer (and wife), Emma Thomas revealed why he tries so hard to stick to the limits placed on him by the studios:

"What he realised very early on was that the moment you give the studios an excuse to come in, you’ve lost it. We watched it happen. The moment you go over budget, you’ve lost the creative control than an obsessive director like Chris needs. He’s always been extremely strategic about it."

And she has a point, take a film such as Waterworld for example. After being authorized to spend $100 million making the post-apocalyptic epic, the film ended up $75 million over budget! And in addition to that blowout, it's rumored that the star and producer of the film, Kevin Costner, fired the director and finished the last part of the film himself. Granted Costner had previously directed Dances With Wolves, but it's totally understandable that the idea of losing creative control would be terrifying to a director with a specific vision.

Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of Inception with Nolan
Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of Inception with Nolan

In a 2012 interview, Nolan told exactly how he manages to do this (spoilers: it's a totally logical answer):

"I tend to try and weed things out on paper because it's crazy expensive to shoot things that aren't going to be in the film. It also takes up a lot of time and energy. Pretty much with all my films, there are very few deleted scenes, which always disappoints the DVD crowd."

Pretty simple. right?

So there you have it. Despite making absolutely huge blockbusters, Christopher Nolan also manages to stay under budget so he can ensure his creative vision comes to life on screen exactly as he envisions it – and let's face it, his creative vision has been totally killing it.

What is your favorite Christopher Nolan film?

Source: The Guardian


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