Interstellar: a space odyssey – new details revealed in exclusive interview

The director and cast have offered a few insights into the making of Interstellar, the forthcoming sci-fi drama that I am literally wishing my life away to see.

It’s out in November, so there are only a few months left to go, but director Christopher Nolan has been typically secretive about the details. For an exclusive feature in US magazine Entertainment Weekly, he and some of his cast threw us a few tidbits of information.

Space opera

The British director talked about the influences that helped to shape Interstellar: “I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey when it was released in England in the wake of Star Wars’ success and the craze for science fiction,” he says. “I was 7 years old, so I couldn’t claim to have understood the film. I just felt this extraordinary experience of being taken to another world. It had a larger-than-life quality.”

Echoes of Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic are certainly evident in the trailer for Interstellar, and it also hints at that other-worldliness that Nolan talks about. It evokes a real sense of wonder, not to mention emotion.

John Lithgow, who plays father-in-law to star Matthew McConaughey’s widowed astronaut Cooper, said a similar thing. “It’s a thrilling interaction between grand spectacle and intimate, intense relationships,” he told EW. "More so than many films of this genre, Chris found a way to make fantastic drama out of cosmic ideas and current human anxieties.”

The anxiety he talks about concerns the fact that Earth is gradually becoming uninhabitable, requiring Cooper and a team of other astronauts (including Anne Hathaway) to head off into the unknown, in search of a new home for the human race. No big deal.

It's sci-fi, but not as we know it

To make it as real as possible for the cast, massive images of stars and black holes were projected onto the studio walls outside the spacecraft that his team assembled, which was based on NASA designs. (His propensity to shun special effects in favour of building actual sets continues to warm my believable-sci-fi-loving heart.)

To prepare herself for the physical challenge of filming Interstellar, Hathaway trained with a Navy SEAL. But this didn’t stop her from having to give herself a pep talk when filming in zero-gravity, wearing a tight, heavy space suit. “Don’t be a wimp, Hathaway!” she told herself. “But I was proud I did not faint and finished the scene, because you never want to disappoint Christopher Nolan.”

EW hasn’t put the article online yet, but you can read it here, thanks to the wonders of the Internet (apologies in advance about the swearing). Interstellar is released on 7th November - do you think it will be a worthy addition to the sci-fi genre? Share your thoughts in the comments below...