When it comes to technology, director Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy), is famously something of a Luddite. He doesn’t have anemail or a cell phone, and he’s a vocal advocate of film over digital.
His action sequences also rely more heavily on practical effects than CGI. Nolan appeared Monday evening at a Tribeca Film Festival panel to discuss his film career. While referencing Nolan’s action scenes, a fan asked what scene the director is most proud of putting together.
It’s not one from “Inception,” nor is it one from his recent “Interstellar.”
Instead, Nolan told the audience if “you’re talking pure mechanics” that he would have to go with the opening scene from “The Dark Knight Rises,” in which the film’s villain Bane (Tom Hardy) is first introduced hijacking a plane that he drops from the sky.
The scene was shot in Scotland, where the crew actually dropped a real C-130 plane from the sky.
While it was a scheduled five-day shoot, the crew was able to get it done in just two.
In order to shoot the scene, Nolan had to obtain permission to drop the C-130.
“It was sort of an incredible coming together of lots and lots of planning by a lot of members of the team who worked for months rehearsing all these parachute jumps,” Nolan said.
He definitely pushes his crew to crazy new levels, and they always seem to be on board.
“With Chris Nolan, as much as we can physically do inside of that lens is where he would like to go,” stunt coordinator Tom Struthers said in a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Practical effects might be making a comeback. The gravity-defying fight scenes in “Inception” used real sets as opposed to green screen, a gamble which clearly paid off.
Other directors are embracing practical as well.
J.J. Abrams has been earning a lot of early praise for actually building most of the sets that you will see in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.” Even the robots such as BB-8, were physically put together and could interact with the actors.
While CGI might be easier and safer, Nolan seems to believe that working without that safety net offers both risks and rewards.
“I was amazed at what the team achieved using various old-fashioned methods,” Nolan said, “I was very proud of how that came together.”
Watch the full scene below: