Humankind has always shaped its destiny by pushing its limits—from the first ships setting sail for the edge of the horizon to the first human steps on the surface of the moon—yet the ultimate frontier remains tantalizingly out of reach. From director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan, “Interstellar” hinges on the provocative question of humanity’s place in the stars.
“To me, space exploration represents the absolute extreme of what the human experience is,” Nolan says. “It’s all about trying, in some way, to define what our existence means in terms of the universe. For a filmmaker, the extraordinary nature of a few select individuals pushing the boundaries of where the human species has ever been or can possibly go opens up an infinite set of possibilities. I was excited by the prospect of making a film that would take the audience into that experience through the eyes of those first explorers moving outwards into the galaxy—indeed to a whole other galaxy. That’s as big a journey as you can imagine trying to tell.”
Set in a near-future in which an agricultural crisis has brought the world to its knees, “Interstellar” chronicles a daring mission to pierce the barriers of time and space in a desperate human gamble against extinction. “I’ve always been interested in what the next step in our evolution might be. If the Earth is a nest, how would we respond when the time comes to leave it?”
Against the limitless canvas of this high-stakes adventure into the stars, Nolan reveals that what ultimately drives the film is the intimate human story at its core. “I feel that the magnitude and grandeur of space is most interesting as a backdrop for exploring relationships, which are so strong and meaningful for us, and how that relates to our place in the universe.”
Matthew McConaughey was taken by the emotional threads that ground the spectacle in human dimensions. “What is amazing to me is that while the excitement of the story lies in its scope—the thrill of adventure and discovery of the unknown—one of my favorite things about Chris Nolan is the heartbeat of humanity he gives to his films,” the actor states. “No one handles the sheer mass and scale of a world like he does because it always comes off as something personal and intimate.”
Anne Hathaway ties this quality in Nolan’s films to his focus on the human stakes in even the most heroic endeavor. “From the beginning of time, the reach to expand our world or move our civilization forward has always involved great sacrifice by a handful of individuals, who put the greater good over any risk to themselves. This film really celebrates those who are brave enough to do that.”
Jessica Chastain adds that the film also celebrates the connections that sustain us. “This story is full of longing and heartbreak, but at its core is the beautiful idea that even if love is not something you can hold in your hands, it remains with you across vast distances in time and space.”
Co-screenwriter Jonathan Nolan admits that the nearly inconceivably dimensions of the universe led them down some fascinating narrative pathways. “The reality of the universe is that while it’s magnificent to look at and inspires a great sense of wonder, it’s cold, airless and vast—so vast that we have no idea how big it really is,” he says. “So, the effort was to try to take a big idea and ground it as much as possible to give you a real sense for what interstellar space travel would feel like, not only as a tactile experience, but in terms of the emotional toll such a treacherous and isolating journey would have on human beings.”
Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 6, 2014 in theaters and IMAX®, “Interstellar” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.