Christopher Nolan is as enigmatic as he is talented. From the way he shows up to every set in a suit, his sometimes mysterious marketing for his films, to the inspired/ controversial casting choices he continually makes: Nolan is in a league of his own in many ways. Which is why it comes as no surprise that the visionary director would have more than a few quirks on set. Dunkirk stars Mark Rylance and Barry Keoghan recently spoke with the Independent about Nolan’s approach to filmmaking, and a few of his more unique rules on set…
“He does things like he doesn’t like having chairs on set for actors or bottles of water; he’s very particular”, said Rylance, with Keoghan adding: “They’re distractions – the noise of [the bottles], they’re like toys almost, playing around with toys. [The lack of chairs, meanwhile] keeps you on your toes, literally”.
For a director as seemingly intense as Christopher Nolan, it is not a surprise that distractions are kept to a minimum. And speaking of keeping things minimal, Mark Rylance also noted the director’s very small directing team:
“And of course it’s also very unusual and very pleasant that it’s a husband and wife team, so there isn’t a team of suited producers all fretting in the background, there’s just Emma, his wife… It feels more like when you’re involved in a student film and there’s a couple. So even though they’ve become very successful and are able to harness all this resource, you still feel like you with a pair of film graduates who are making something that’s personal, that they’re enthusiastic about.”
The more one hears, the more it becomes clear that working with Christopher Nolan must be a rare, and refreshing treat for any actor in Hollywood. It looks like the director’s methods are working: Dunkirk is currently smashing the box office, and is receiving rave reviews by critics and fans alike.
“Dunkirk opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.”
Dunkirk sees Christopher Nolan directing a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney and newcomer Fionn Whitehead.