Gained major funding during the 1999 Hong Kong Film Festival by showing his film Following (1998) and then asking the audience to donate money to his next film Memento (2000).
Older brother of Jonathan Nolan.
Nephew of John Nolan and Kim Hartman.
Is red and green colorblind.
Received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from University College London.
Is a huge fan of James Bond, and said to David S. Goyer, that his favorite James Bond movie is On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
His top ten favorite movies are: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Black Hole (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Chinatown (1974), The Hitcher (1986), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)), Star Wars (1977), The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and Topkapi (1964), as well as anything by Stanley Kubrick.
Does not like computer graphics in movies and purposely avoided them when he made Batman Begins (2005).
Following Insomnia (2002), his next project was going to be a Howard Hughes biopic starring Jim Carrey. Nolan had the screenplay written (calling it "one of the best things I've ever written"), but once it became apparent Martin Scorsese was making his own Hughes biopic, The Aviator (2004), Nolan reluctantly tabled his script and took up directing Batman Begins (2005).
While Nolan grew up in London, England, he did visit Evanston, Illinois, Chicago at least four to five times during his early childhood and teenage years but his enrollment in Hertfordshire's Haileybury and Imperial Service College meant his travels would not be as frequent as his brother. It wasn't until his University College London (UCL) years when he started making his professed visits to the US.
Nolan has both British and American Citizenship. His mandatory US Citizenship (not Nationality) was legitimized in 2002.
Is a huge fan of the rock band Radiohead.
Resides in both London, England and Los Angeles, California with his wife Emma Thomas and their four children.
As of 2018, 7 out of 10 films directed by Nolan are on the IMDB's top 250: The Dark Knight (2008), Batman Begins (2005), Memento (2000), The Prestige (2006), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014). The three films missing are Insomnia (2002), Following (1998) and Dunkirk (2017).
Was doing camera and sound work on training videos before making his film debut.
His film, Interstellar (2014), is the sixth consecutive movie of his to have a role played by Michael Caine.
Considers Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott as his primary influences.
Adapted Ruth Rendell's novel, "The Keys to the Street", into a screenplay that he was set to direct for Fox Searchlight after Insomnia (2002). However, he instead went on to direct Batman Begins (2005). "Keys to the Street" remains unproduced.
First cousin of Miranda Nolan, whom he gave minor roles in Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Miranda's brother Tom had a minor role in Batman Begins (2005).
Is the first director to do three live-action film adaptations of the DC Comics character Batman.
He and Spider-Man (2002) director Sam Raimi are the only directors to do three live-action comic book adaptations of the same character.
Prefers shooting on film stock over digital, and has been outspoken against the threat by studios to phase out the use of film as a choice over digital.
Refuses to use Digital Intermediates for his films, instead opting to use the photochemical timing process.
Is one of the few people (also including his comic-book consultant and co-writer David S. Goyer) to work on films about DC Comics' two most famous characters and two of the most iconic heroes in Comics, "Batman" and "Superman".
Honored with a hand-print and foot-print ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California on July 7, 2012.
Father of Flora Nolan, Rory Nolan, Oliver Nolan and Magnus Nolan.
He initially directed his Batman films so he could get funding and support for his bigger films. The one he had planned for years was Inception (2010).
Unadjusted for inflation, Christopher Nolan is only the second director after James Cameron to make two films that have grossed more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office (The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)). However, Nolan is the first director to have released both of the films in 2D only.
Always refuses to use a second unit in his movies, preferring instead to oversee every shot himself with the DP.
Was inspired to create the Dark Knight trilogy after viewing Richard Donner's Superman films.
Has directed one Oscar winning performance: Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008).
Despite directing many acclaimed films, he has only been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director once for Dunkirk (2017).
His most recent films were filmed under fake titles named for his children: The Dark Knight (2008) was "Rory's First Kiss", Inception (2010) was "Oliver's Arrow", The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was "Magnus Rex", and Interstellar (2014) was "Flora's Letter".
Drinks Earl Grey Tea often on set.
Important inspirations for his editing style were the films of Nicolas Roeg and later Terrence Malick, especially his epic The Thin Red Line (1998).
He does not create a story outline before beginning the writing of a screenplay, although he does take copious notes regarding events, characters, and ideas.
The majority of Nolan's features have one common story element: The main protagonist experiences some sort of mind problem, that significantly contributes to the storyline. In Memento (2000), Leonard suffers a short-term memory loss that has been caused by the murder of his wife. In Insomnia (2002), detective Will Dormer suffers from insomnia. Thoughtout the Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012), Bruce Wayne experiences a fear of bats, which inspires him to conquer fear and fight his mental suffering. In The Prestige (2006), the magician Angier seeks vengeance for his wife's death and constantly experiences visions of the moment she died. In Inception (2010), Cobb suffered the loss of his wife, whose suicide he might have provoked. As a result of this trauma, he constantly sees and visualizes his wife, as if she's still alive.
His first feature Following (1998) was made for only 6,000 pounds and was shot mostly on weekends for about a year, because the cast and crew all had full-time jobs.
Even though he made the Dark Knight Trilogy dark and serious, he admits to being a huge fan of Tim Burton's Batman (1989).
Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have developed a dedicated following often called the 'Nolanites' or 'Nolanists'.
He completely financed his first feature Following (1998) himself and produced it without any additional funding.
His father, Brendan James Nolan, was an English advertising executive while his mother, Christina (née Jensen), was originally from North America, hailing from an English-American family of English-Irish-French descent from Evanston, Illinois and worked as a flight attendant and an English teacher.
Was offered to direct Troy (2004).
Described the IMAX format, which he is particularly fond of, as "virtual reality without the goggles".
In interviews he said, that he's only interested in making features that will be shown in theatres. He has no plans to ever work for Netflix. He criticized Netflix's distribution model as "mindless", because it would skip the traditional 3-month-theatrical-window, which he called a "terrific" model, that shouldn't be changed.
Flew in a Spitfire plane during the filming of the aerial battle scenes of Dunkirk in order to get proper and realistic dogfight shots.
He is left-handed.
He is the first non-American director to direct a Batman film.
Good friends with Zack Snyder.
In addition to their artistic and financial success, Nolan's Batman films were also highly influential in shaping the business side of Hollywood from the mid-2000s onward. The success of 'Batman Begins' popularized the notion of 'rebooting' franchises, 'The Dark Knight' was the first Hollywood feature film to have scenes shot in IMAX (thus popularizing the format for presentations of major films), and the critical outcry regarding 'The Dark Knight' being snubbed a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards (despite it being one of the most lauded films of the decade) motivated the Academy of Arts and Sciences to expand their Best Picture nominations field to 10 films (which was later changed to a flexible field of 5 to 10 films, depending on the results of the vote).
Christopher Nolan's Memento (2000) was his first movie to be preserved in National Film Registry. It was considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2017.
He typically casts highly acclaimed actors and actresses in his films. As of 2018, he has worked with 16 Oscar winners (Casey Affleck, Christian Bale, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Heath Ledger, Matthew McConaughey, Gary Oldman, Al Pacino, Mark Rylance, Hilary Swank, & Robin Williams) and 12 Oscar nominees (Tom Berenger, Kenneth Branagh, Timothée Chalamet, Jessica Chastain, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tom Hardy, Hugh Jackman, John Lithgow, Liam Neeson, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, & Tom Wilkinson).
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2019 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to Film. He is a director and film-maker.
He is the first British director to have a film make one billion dollars at the box office.