Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar is sure to be big and philosophical and full of all kinds of themes and questions about the nature of humanity, our place in the larger picture, and many deep existential topics. It’s also the kind of science fiction that, while definitely full of the fictional side, is also heavy on the science portion of the program. This new video digs into some of that science that they went to great lengths to portray as accurately as possible on screen, and it’s fascinating stuff.
This video from Wired (read the entire article, it goes into far greater depth) features interviews with Nolan, along brother and co-writer Jonathan Nolan, wife and producing partner Emma Thomas, and, most importantly to the subject matter, noted astrophysicist, executive producer, and scientific advisor Kip Thorne. If anyone is going to have any light to shed on the film, it’s the first three, and if anyone is going to have a handle on the science, it’s going to be Thorne. I still think he looks a little like horror icon Sid Haig, but maybe that’s just me.
Interstellar is set in a near future where global climate change has progressed to the point where the human race will only be able to last a little while longer on our home world, like a generation, not much more. Because of this, a group of explorers, including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, among others, blast off through a newly discovered wormhole in search of a habitable planet to colonize.
Much of the talk in this video revolves around the nature of wormholes and black holes, both of which feature prominently in the film, and which Thorne says have never been accurately portrayed onscreen. Accomplishing that is one of Nolan’s key goals, story wise, scientifically, and visually. Thorne created formulas that the special effects department then used to create models of these phenomena the likes that no one ever has before.
As this is a Hollywood movie, they had decided that if the result would be incomprehensible to viewers and damage the narrative, they wouldn’t use them, but luckily for everyone involved, the end product is spectacular looking. In fact, they plan to compose multiple papers about their findings. At least one will be aimed at the academic side and the astrophysics crowd, while another will be for people working in the computer special effects field. All in all, it sounds like they made some incredible strides.
Interstellar opens everywhere on November 7, though you can see it projected in 35mm and 70mm on actual film a few days earlier on November 5.