Christopher Nolan is an innovative film director and screenwriter who’s helmed several early 21st century megahits, including Memento, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.
Born on July 30, 1970 in London, England, Christopher Nolan received attention for his early films, Following (1998) and Memento (2000). After directing Insomnia, Nolan’s next film was Batman Begins, a re-launch of the comic-book franchise that became a worldwide hit. The film’s sequel, The Dark Knight, broke box office records, and Nolan’s heady sci-fi thriller,Inception, became another blockbuster two years later. In 2012, he produced the third film of his Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises.
Nolan’s major film debut, Following, was a black-and-white, small-budget work about a lonely writer who’s obsessed with following strangers and then partners with a burglar. The film’s unconventional, non-linear narrative scheme helped garner interest in Nolan’s work and propelled him to his next film, Memento. The noir-ish indie feature starred Guy Pearce as an amnesiac man who relies on Polaroids and copious note-taking while seeking vengeance. Nolan adapted the work from a story written by his brother Jonathan Nolan, and the film received two Oscar nominations for its editing and screenplay.
Nolan continued presenting psychological thrillers with the remake Insomnia, starring Al Pacino as a police officer in Alaska handling a murder investigation while contending with a lingering guilt. The director’s career then traveled into the stratosphere, when he agreed to helm the re-launch of the comic book hero Batman with the 2005 film Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as the titular character. The movie went on to earn more than $372 million worldwide. Nolan next released 2006’s The Prestige, a well-received story about dueling magicians starring Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson.
The Dark Knight’ and ‘Inception’
In July, 2008, Nolan’s Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, opened and set the record as having the highest weekend gross in the United States, at $158 million; Knight went on to become one of the top five highest-grossing films in America. While the production also received an avalanche of acclaim, including several Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, sadness marked the proceedings. Heath Ledger, who starred as the villain the Joker, died from an accidental prescription drug overdose before the film was released. Ledger won a Golden Globe and Oscar posthumously for his work, and Nolan accepted the Globe award on Ledger’s behalf.
Two summers later, Nolan returned to the box office with Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the leader of a group of dream-traveling mercenaries. The film was another critically lauded blockbuster for the director, and won four Academy Awards for its technical wizardry. Nolan followed Inception with the third blockbuster film in the Batman franchise, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, this time starring Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Marion Cotillard (who was also in Inception) as Miranda Tate.
Nolan was the sole screenwriter for Following and Inception. ExcludingInsomnia, he has shared writing credits for his other films with Jonathan Nolan, among others.