Christopher Nolan Reveals Some of the Practical Effects Used for 'Interstellar'

Many of Christopher Nolan's films deal with fantastical elements, but he likes to ground things in reality as much as possible, both on-screen and on-set.

In the video below, he talks about how he keeps things as real as possible for the actors and the audience:

Here is a BTS photo showing off the full-size ship and the hydraulic system used to simulate movement for the actors:

Interstellar BTS Ship 2

Nolan has been very vocal about trying to keep things as realistic as he can, even if he's shooting a scene that is supposed to take place on another planet or in space. While CG elements can very often blend right in, if the thing you're showing is already real, you don't have to worry about hiding anything. This is obviously not a new technique, and projection has been used for many, many years, but actors often talk about being able to get into their characters better when they have something real to react to as opposed to green screen and their imaginations. 

A great example of this recently is the sky tower home in Oblivion. They used giant screens to project footage of clouds at different times of day, which helped them on multiple fronts — the actors had something real, they didn't have to worry about green or blue spill onto reflective surfaces, and they also used those screens to practically light the set:

What are some of your favorite practical effects?      

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Your Comment


Wish there was more BTS in his narration rather than just the shots from the movie. Imagining how they got the shots somewhat defeats the purpose of the explanation. Just a little bit of footage would have sufficed.

January 1, 2015 at 1:09AM

Alex Smith

just google "Oblivion bts" and you will find what you are looking for.

January 1, 2015 at 4:13AM


I've been a fan of Nolan's work ever since Inception, and this was nothing short of a treat. The way he works is inspiring.

October 1, 2016 at 1:26PM

David Klompas
Intern Journalist