The opening scene of every movie and TV show is how you hook the audience right away. It gets them excited about being part of the story and allows them to see the tone and world for the first time.
In Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, the opening serves to transport us into a world ruled by hope and love.
“How much was storyboarded before you shot?” Deakins asked van Hoytema about Interstellar. “The opening sequence in the cornfield and with the house is one of the most precise and beautiful sequences of film in the last however many years. It’s really brilliantly done and feels so precisely constructed. I wonder how much is storyboarded and how much is worked out with actors in the morning.”
“A lot of people say that about Chris that he has a precision to him in storytelling,” Van Hoytema responded. “But one of the biggest things that I learned starting to work with him and one of the things I admire about him is that he is an extremely intuitive filmmaker. He is so perceptible to the energy that is being given to you, like weather. People are always saying you’re always so lucky with the weather, but he’s never lucky with the weather. He just shoots in any weather that is handed to him on a plate.”
This is such a deep analysis of how things are given to the audience, message transported by visuals.
Van Hoytema continued, “There are few people that are so good at making something so adequate out of a situation that occurs in front of him. He is very untouched or intimidated by things that go wrong or change very extremely. He has strong ideas what he wants and is so secure in it that in those situations he can step away from being a micromanager.”
"Control" is a great word for what Nolan exudes. He's been so measured before, Interstellar was the first time he let his characters really care and I think it works well within the context of the story. Obviously, the visuals second that effort.
Check out the whole conversation on Team Deakins, one of our favorite podcasts!
What do you think of the opening scene of Interstellar? Let us know down in the comments.