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Christopher Nolan: I’m ‘Drawn to Working on a Large Scale’ Instead of Indies to ‘Marshal Those Resources’

Christopher Nolan is voicing his love of indie films while explaining why he’s unlikely to make another one.

The “Oppenheimer” writer-director, who got his start with indies “Following” and “Memento,” told Time magazine that he feels a “responsibility” to the filmmaking community to safeguard “large scale” resources and push the boundaries of technology onscreen.

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“I’m drawn to working at a large scale because I know how fragile the opportunity to marshal those resources is,” Nolan said. “I know that there are so many filmmakers out there in the world who would give their eye teeth to have the resources I put together, and I feel I have the responsibility to use them in the most productive and interesting way.”

Nolan, however, added that his favorite recent films have been small-budget indies like “Past Lives” and “Aftersun,” calling both features “beautiful.” His “Oppenheimer” carried a production pricetag of $100 million — a far cry from the $200-million cost of “Tenet” but even further from the $9 million it cost to make “Memento.”

The 2024 Oscar nominee previously told the Associated Press that there should be a “balance” within Hollywood and that the industry shouldn’t rely solely on IP-driven franchises.

“There’s always a balance in Hollywood between established titles that can assure a return in audience and give people more of what they want, that’s always been a big part of the economics of Hollywood,” Nolan said. “And it pays for lots of other types of films to be made and distributed.”

The “Dark Knight” director continued, “But there also always needs to be respect for the audience’s desire for something new…One of the big thrills of going to the movies is, frankly, seeing a trailer for a movie you’ve never heard of, type of movie you haven’t seen. A healthy ecosystem in Hollywood is about a balance between the two things and always has been.”

Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” actor Robert Downey Jr., who is also nominated at the 2024 Academy Awards for his turn in the blockbuster epic film, called Nolan “as independent a voice as ever existed in cinema while telling stories that remind us of the interdependency of the human experience” at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Nolan reflected on bringing his debut feature “Memento” to Sundance during the 2024 opening night awards gala, saying, “It’s the audience, it’s the two weeks or so in which independent filmmaking doesn’t just mean a business model. It means aspirations for filmmakers, directors, writers, actors. You’re treated as artists, you’re given authorship in what you’ve done, and it tells you what you’re supposed to be doing, what your real purpose is.”

He added, “I don’t think I’ve ever been an independent filmmaker. Painters can be independent. Poets can be independent, but so many people are crucially important to a film finding an audience that “the very notion of complete independence starts to wither away.”

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