Inside Christopher Nolan’s Creative Process

Posted on August 2, 2012


Christopher Nolan says don’t hold back, burn the money.

One of the best parts of working with hosts is exploring and refining their individual creative process. It’s interesting to discover what gets their creative juices flowing and find a way to maximize it so that it results in consistently compelling content for the listeners.

So when I came across this article on Fandango where director Christopher Nolan talks about the process he went through in creating the Dark Knight trilogy I was fascinated.

First — as I’ve tried to illustrate with the quotes below — I think it’s fascinating how he didn’t set out to make a trilogy but kept discovering the next chapter the same way the character would have (if he were real). Each time that discovery is what drove Nolan to see it brought to the screen.

  • “When [screenwriter David S. Goya] and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the future. I didn’t want to know everything that Bruce couldn’t; I wanted to live it with him.”
  • “Once I knew where [the second film] would take Bruce, and when I started to see glimpses of the antagonist, it became essential.”
  • “I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself.

That’s how a great host feels each day. That there is a show inside of them that has to get out.

Second, I appreciate Nolan’s give-it-your-all attitude about these movie. Since he wasn’t sure there was going to be a second or third movie he resolved not to hold back. And then, when he realized he had shied away from a few things he resolved to push even farther.

  • “I told David and [co-writer and Christopher’s brother Jonathan Nolan] to put everything they knew into each film as we made it. The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film. Nothing held back. Nothing saved for next time.”
  • “We’d held nothing back, but there were things we’d chickened out on — destroying the Batmobile, burning up the villain’s blood money to show a complete disregard for conventional motivation. We took the supposed security of a sequel as license to throw caution to the wind and headed for the darkest corners of Gotham.”

There’s always a chance you might not have another show. Don’t hold back. Destroy the Batmobile and burn the money each time you are on the air.