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Christopher Nolan on the “Responsibility” He Feels to Keep Making “Large-Scale” Movies

Christopher Nolan appreciates all film projects, big or small, but he admits that he will likely continue to work on “large-scale” productions.

During an interview with Time magazine, published online Monday, the filmmaker said some of his recent favorite films were smaller-scale dramas, including Past Lives, which he said was “subtle in a beautiful sort of way,” and Aftersun, which he called “just a beautiful film.”

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And though Nolan admires the beauty of those projects, he noted that he feels a “responsibility” to continue making blockbuster movies with large casts, elaborate sets and big budgets.

“I’m drawn to working at a large scale because I know how fragile the opportunity to marshal those resources is,” the Interstellar director told the outlet. “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’s latest directorial project Oppenheimer, which scored 13 Oscar nominations, reportedly got a $100 million budget. While that’s still a large amount for a film, it’s definitely smaller than the budget for his 2020 movie Tenet, which had a more than $200 million budget. And it’s even more of a difference from the third film in The Dark Knight trilogy, which had an estimated $250 million budget.

But the director doesn’t take any of his resources for granted — for Oppenheimer, he shortened the shoot from 85 days to 57 to free up more of the budget for production designs and location shooting.

“The U.S. government gave [the Manhattan Project] $2 billion, three to four years and an Army Corps of Engineers to build the original Los Alamos,” production designer Ruth De Jong previously told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had [none of that].”

The Cillian Murphy-led film, which followed the story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb, grossed nearly $1 billion at the box office since it was released in July.

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