Jeffrey Ressner interviews Christopher Nolan about how he works, the fact that he didn’t go to film school, and why he wears suits on his set.

JEFFREY RESSNER: When did you realize that directing was your life’s calling?
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN: To be honest, I’ve always made films and I never really stopped, starting with little stop-motion experiments using my dad’s Super 8 camera. In my mind, it’s all one big continuum of filmmaking and I’ve never changed. I used to noodle around with the camera but I didn’t go to film school. I studied English literature at college and pursued a straight academic qualification, all the while making my own films and wanting to make more. I paid for my first feature, Following, myself and made it with friends. We were all working full-time jobs, so we’d get together on weekends for a year, shooting about 15 minutes of raw stock every Saturday, one or two takes of everything, and getting maybe five minutes of finished film out of that. We went to the San Francisco Film Festival with it [in 1998] and Zeitgeist Films picked up distribution, which really helped me get Memento going. I got paid to direct it, I had millions of dollars in trucks and hundreds of people and everything, and I haven’t looked back since.

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Thurman Dalrymple, Jr.

This could be my story except I stopped making stop motion films (with my twin brother) after about 10 episodes. My mother gave us so much crap for being up too late at night that we decided to quit. Damn it, I could be Thurman Nolan.

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