Christopher Nolan is known for his epic productions and Interstellar is no different, representing his most ambitious work yet. Not keen on digital compositing, Nolan wanted to establish a true sense of place, which meant a race against time as the production team conjured up landscapes from scratch in locations across the world. Don’t believe us? Check out some amazing facts about the filming of Interstellar that we managed to dig up.
1. Farmhouse & Cornfield
Production designer Nathan Crowley and the team not only travelled to Calgary in Canada to shoot the farmhouse scenes, they grew the cornfield from scratch. They had less than six months to grow it to its full height, during which time cold weather and devastating floods threated to ruin all that hard work.
2. The Dust
The dust storms of Interstellar rise full-bodied over the horizon and worm into every surface of Coopers’ world. Nolan knew he could never achieve the full scope of that through CGI, so he turned to special effects. The answer was C-90 – a nontoxic, biodegradable material made from ground-up cardboard. Casey Affleck recalls, “You opened your mouth to speak and instantly the whole thing filled with dust”.
3. Space Suits
The space suites worn by actors weren’t just for show either. Costume designer Mary Zophres says, “Nothing on the suits was for decoration; everything had to serve a purpose”. This included working oxygen units, cooling systems to keep actors from overheating, specialized gloves and elbow-based rockets. All told, the final weight came in between 30 and 35 pounds, not including the wetsuits for the water sequences.
4. The Ranger & The Lander
Both the Ranger and the Lander were built full size – 46 and 50 foot long respectively, weighing more than 10,000 pounds each. Made from steel and polystyrene, they were then waterproofed with an extra hard coat of fibreglass – a necessity given what Nolan had in mind for them. The ships were disassembled and shipped in the bay of a 747 cargo jet to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Speaking of Iceland…. Nolan, having already shot sequences for Batman Begins here, had a sense of the landscape and knew he would find rich terrain perfect for Interstellar. And of course, as it turned out, diverse Icelandic environment provided the ideal location for two of the story’s planetary destinations.
“With Chris, everything has to be practical and tangible. So, if you find yourself standing in a massive, fake corn filed, beside a beautiful but totally fake farmhouse in the middle of a completely fake dust storm, that’s when you know you’re on a Chris Nolan movie.” – Jonathan Nolan.
Interstellar is in cinemas and IMAX everywhere now