Nolan roots 'Interstellar' epic in family drama with McConaughey

Mon Nov 3, 2014 9:33am EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For his first journey into a galaxy far, far away, director Christopher Nolan wanted to tether himself to something close to home.

In his daughter, he found inspiration for a lead character in "Interstellar," Nolan's big-budget epic space adventure rooted in intimate family drama.

"I took the decision to change Murphy into a girl, and I think I may well have done that because my oldest child is a daughter," Nolan said of the teen who suffers when her father, played by Matthew McConaughey, leaves for a long, potentially fatal space journey.

"I wanted to have as close a relationship as possible to the emotional journey of the character."

"Interstellar," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, is expected to be one of the year's biggest films at the box office. And Nolan, who has carved out a prestigious movie career with the "Dark Knight" Batman trilogy and "Inception," believes it takes the audience to the furthest realm of space exploration in film.

After Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller "Gravity" drew some criticism from scientists for its implausibility, Nolan pre-empts controversy by saying anyone who demands scientific rigor from the fantastical film is "going to produce their own level of frustration." The film presents theoretical notions of wormholes and bending the rules of time and space.

"We've certainly crossed over into some interesting territory in terms of the science, but we've always done it at the service of the emotional story at the heart of the film."

"Interstellar" is set in a vague distant future where Earth's inhabitants face an agricultural crisis as dust storms threaten mankind's food and ability to breathe.   Continued...

Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar. REUTERS/Warner Bros.