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Christopher Jonathan James Nolan (born 30 July 1970) is a British-American filmmaker, writer and producer. The son of an English father and an American mother, Nolan is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States. He is married to Emma Thomas, his longtime producer. They have three children and reside in Los Angeles.

He often collaborates with his brother, screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, and recently with actor Christian Bale (Batman (2005 and 2008) and The Prestige). Nolan is best known for directing the psychological thriller Memento and for reviving the Batman film franchise, for which he has received considerable acclaim. He is also the founder of the production company Syncopy Films.

He is currently filming the science fiction film Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which is to be released in the summer of 2010.

Early life

Nolan was born in London and spent his childhood in both London and Chicago. Nolan found an interest in botany and "dicots" early on until he found his father's camera. Nolan began film-making at the age of seven using his father's Super 8 camera and his toy action figures. While living in Chicago as a child, he also made short films with future director and producer Roko Belic. The film which influenced him in his youth, he says, was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner which he admired for its visual complexity.

Nolan was educated at Haileybury Collegemarker, an independent school at Hertford Heathmarker in Hertfordshiremarker, England, and later studied English literature at University College Londonmarker while filming several short films in the college film society. The first, Tarantella, was shown in 1989 on Image Union, an independent film and video showcase featured on PBS. A second short film, Larceny, was shown during the 1996 Cambridge Film Festival. Another notable short film was called Doodlebug with Jeremy Theobald who later starred in Following. Christopher Nolan married fellow producer/author Emma Thomas in 1997.

Professional career

Nolan directed his first feature film, Following, in 1996. The film depicts a writer who is obsessed with following random people. Scenes are shown out of chronological order, and as such the viewer becomes disoriented; having to deduce the elements of the story in the same way as the protagonist calculates what is going on around him. Nolan made the film for just $6,000. He shot it on weekends, over the course of a year, working with friends he had met at the University College London film society. It began to receive notice after premiering at the 1998 San Francisco Film Festival, and was eventually distributed on a limited basis by Zeitgeist in 1999.

As a result of the film's success, Newmarket Films optioned the script for Nolan's next film, Memento. Memento (2000) is a critically acclaimed cult classic and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (Oscar) for best screenplay. The movie is based on the short story Memento Mori, written by Christopher's brother, Jonathan Nolan. It follows widower Leonard Shelby (played by English-born Australian actor Guy Pearce) who suffers a head injury and is unable to form new memories. What distinguishes the film is Nolan's technique of presenting events partially in reverse-chronological order and then in chronological order. Using this technique, Nolan forces viewers into the mentally-impaired protagonist's position — also encountering disoriented events. Nolan had developed this cutting technique in Following. The latter, however, presents a structure in which the three acts are cut together, whereas Memento presents two linear timelines — the primary one running backwards, and an entirely previous timeline running forwards — which are cut together and which meet at the end. This crossing-over is signified by the transition from black and white film stock to color as the timeline transitions from forwards to backwards.

In 2002, Nolan directed Insomnia, an American remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name (although with major changes in both the plot and the nature of the main character). The plot involves two detectives brought to Alaska to assist local authorities in locating a killer. However, the search occurs during the "sunny" season in Alaska, and the film's protagonist, played by Al Pacino, is unable to sleep because of the constant daylight. His sleepless "nights" lead to bad decisions and Nolan's characteristic confusion, for both the protagonist and the viewer. The film also starred Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. The movie was praised by critics as a rare case of a well-done American remake of a European film.

In 1997, Warner Bros Pictures put its Batman franchise on an indefinite hiatus when the fourth installment, Batman and Robin, was released to negative reviews and disappointing box office. Nolan had said that while he was content with his directing résumé, he had always dreamed of directing a blockbuster. He created his opportunity in 2003 when, together with Blade screenwriter David S. Goyer, he convinced Warner Bros. to take the risk of entrusting the first of a revived Batman film series to a relatively unknown director. The actor selected to play the leading role, Christian Bale, was a favorite choice among movie fans due to his work in movies such as American Psycho and Equilibrium. Batman Begins was released on 15 June 2005 and became a box office hit, ranking as the third biggest blockbuster of that summer. It received a very positive critical and public reception, with many ranking it as superior to even Tim Burton's classic 1989 Batman film, for instance receiving, according to Rotten Tomatoes, an overall 85% positive review compared to 70% for Burton's film. Strengths of the movie included its dark and intelligent storyline, strong emphasis on character, and the predominant themes of fear and duality. Michael Caine also stars as Bruce's trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Liam Neeson stars as Ra's Al Ghul, Gary Oldman stars as James Gordon and Morgan Freeman stars as Lucius Fox. Cillian Murphy also stars as the psychological villain of fear, The Scarecrow (a.k.a. Dr. Jonathan Crane), and Katie Holmes portrays Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne's childhood friend and love interest. Batman Begins was a major winner at the 32nd annual Saturn Awards. The film won for Best Fantasy Film, Best Actor for Christian Bale and Best Writing for Nolan and Goyer. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

The Prestige, released on 20 October 2006, is an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about two rival magicians in the 19th century. It reunites Nolan with Batman Begins stars Christian Bale and Michael Caine. Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie also star. The movie had a mostly positive response from critics and made over $109 million worldwide. The film was co-scripted by his brother, Jonathan Nolan and co-produced with his wife, Emma Thomas.

In the months following The Prestige's release, Nolan made numerous comments suggesting that he would return to direct the sequel to Batman Begins. In late July 2006, the sequel was officially confirmed as The Dark Knight with Nolan at the helm and Heath Ledger joining the cast as The Joker, Batman's arch-nemesis. Actress Katie Holmes, who played the hero's romantic interest in Begins, had been replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose brother Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2003. Aaron Eckhart, who turned down the leading role in Memento, plays Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Nolan and his brother Jonathan wrote a script, based on a treatment written by himself and David S. Goyer. The film began production in early 2007 and was released on 16 July 2008 in Australia and 18 July 2008 in the United States, to overwhelming critical acclaim with some critics calling it the greatest comic-book based movie ever made. It has also had enormous box office success, setting the record for the highest-grossing weekend opening in the U.S. with over $158 million and becoming the 2nd highest grossing film of all time domestically, and the fourth-highest worldwide (both unadjusted for inflation).At the 2009 Golden Globe Awards, Christopher Nolan accepted the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture on behalf of the deceased Heath Ledger. Nolan is nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Best Director for The Dark Knight. While the movie did not receive any nominations for the five major categories at the 81st Academy Awards, it was nominated for a total of eight Oscars, and won two, the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, and a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Ledger, the only film based on a comic book to ever win a major Academy Award.

Upcoming projects

After the release of Nolan's 2008 film The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. contracted the director in a seven-figure deal to film a science fiction film called Inception. The film is based on a script written by Nolan and is described as being "a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind". Filming began in summer 2009, and Inception is scheduled to be released in summer 2010.

Gary Oldman and Michael Caine have both stated that a third Batman film will start shooting in 2010 with a 2011/2012 release date likely but nothing has officially been announced by Warner Brothers. It is currently unconfirmed if Nolan is attached to the project.

Filmography

Film Year Studio Rotten Tomatoes Score Gross Credit(s)
Following 1998 Momentum Pictures 80% $48,482 Director
Writer
Producer
Cinematographer
Editor



Memento 2000 Newmarket Films 93% $39,723,096 Director
Writer
Insomnia 2002 Warner Bros. 92% $113,714,830 Director
Batman Begins 2005 Warner Bros. 85% $372,710,015 Director
Writer
The Prestige 2006 Touchstone Pictures
Warner Bros.
75% $109,676,311 Director
Writer
Producer

The Dark Knight 2008 Warner Bros. 94% $1,001,921,826 Director
Writer
Producer

Inception 2010 Warner Bros. N/A N/A Director
Writer
Producer



Short films

  • Tarantella (1989) (Also writer/producer)
  • Larceny (1996) (Also writer/producer)
  • Doodlebug (1997) (Also writer/producer)


Publications

Articles


See also



References

  1. The Prestige (2006)
  2. http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/07/24/gary-oldman-claims-next-batman-movie-starts-shooting-in-2010/
  3. http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/04/03/michael-caine-says-we-probably-wont-see-a-dark-knight-sequel-until-2012/


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