Christopher Nolan Wants to Make a Horror Movie

You know who also wants Christopher Nolan to make a horror movie? More or less everyone.

Nolan revealed his desire to make a horror film at the British Film Institute on Thursday, which would give him another genre to master. Nolan has already put his stamp on superheroes (The Dark Knight trilogy), sci-fi (Inception, Interstellar, Tenet), and the biopic (his massively lauded Oppenheimer), and he seems well-equipped to put his distinctive spin on horror, too.

“I think horror films are very interesting because they depend on very cinematic devices,” he said during his conversation at BFI. “It’s really about [provoking] a visceral response to things. So, at some point, I’d love to make a horror film. But I think a really good horror film requires a really exceptional idea — and those are few and far between. So, I haven’t found the story that lends itself to that. But I think it’s a very interesting genre from a cinematic point of view. It’s also one of the few genres where — the studios make a lot of these films — and they’re films that have a lot of bleakness, a lot of abstraction. They have a lot of qualities that Hollywood is generally very resistant to putting into films, but that’s a genre where it’s allowable.”

Nolan went on to say that there’s certainly a case to be made that Oppenheimer functioned, in part, as a horror movie. But it was also multi-genre, something he took advantage of.

“Certainly Oppenheimer has elements of horror — which I definitely think is appropriate for the subject matter,” he said. “The middle of the film is very heavily based on the heist genre, and the third act of the film is the courtroom drama. And, the reason I settled on those two genres for those sections, is they are mainstream genres in which dialogue and people talking is inherently tense and interesting to an audience. That’s the fun thing with genre — you get to play with a lot of different areas, whereas in different type of film, you really wouldn’t be allowed to.”

There are plenty of auteurs who have put their personal stamp on the horror genre, perhaps nobody in recent years as emphatically as Jordan Peele, whose Get Out and Us were horror films that could have only been made by him. (Peele then created a delicious horror/sci-fi hybrid with Nope.) Nolan is another filmmaker with the ability to mold any genre and make it his own. There’s little doubt that a Nolan horror movie would be distinctly, definitively a film only he could have made. Here’s hoping we get to see it.

For more on Nolan’s last film, the Oscar-nominated (many times over) Oppenheimer, check out these stories:

Christopher Nolan on What Draws Him to Crafting Large-Scale Movies

“Oppenheimer” Has Reached Another Milestone for Christopher Nolan

“Oppenheimer” Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema on Making History With Christopher Nolan

“Oppenheimer” Production Designer Ruth De Jong on Helping Christopher Nolan Build the Bomb

Featured image: L to R: Cillian Murphy (as J. Robert Oppenheimer) and writer, director, and producer Christopher Nolan on the set of OPPENHEIMER.


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