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Christopher Nolan’s career happened thanks to this director

If it weren't for this one moment with a very influential director, we might never have gotten Christopher Nolan movies like Interstellar and Oppenheimer.

leonard in memento

It’s impossible to imagine Hollywood without Christopher Nolan. If it weren’t for Christopher Nolan, we wouldn’t have films like Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Dunkirk, Inception, and Oppenheimer, to name just a few.

Many of his films, which span genres like superhero movies and war movies, are widely considered by critics and experts to be among the best movies of all time. If you need further proof, look at all the accolades he’s racked up, including nominations for five Academy Awards, five BAFTAs, and six Golden Globes. Before breaking into the mainstream, Nolan made a name for himself through independent films like Memento. And in an interview with Rolling Stone, Steven Soderbergh revealed how he helped the director’s movies get the audience they deserve.

“What happened was, I got a call from Chris’ agent, Dan Aloni, who I had known because he screened Memento for me after Memento couldn’t find a distributor after being on the festival circuit for a year,” he recalled. “Dan calls me up out of the blue and says, ‘Could you watch this movie? I have this client of mine who has this movie, and we think it’s really good, but nobody will pick it up and we don’t understand why. Maybe we’re all crazy.'”

“I see the movie, and I think it’s a fucking instant classic, and I go, ‘Well, this is really depressing.’ I was really upset when I got out of there. It turns out that the financiers, Newmarket, opened their own distribution company and made $25 million on it,” he added.

“Cut to months later, Dan calls me and he goes, ‘Look, there’s this script over at Warner, Insomnia. Chris is really interested in it, but Warner won’t take the meeting.” And I go, ‘What do you mean they won’t take the meeting?’ And he goes, ‘Well, the executive there didn’t like Memento.’ And I said, ‘Well, so what? Why won’t they take the meeting?’ So, I called that executive and I said, ‘Take the meeting. You’ve got to take the meeting.”

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He continued, “And he goes, ‘But I didn’t like the movie,  And I go, ‘Well, did you like the movie-making?; And he goes, ‘Well, yeah, it’s brilliantly made.’ And I go, ‘Take the meeting.’ That is all I did. I knew Chris well enough to know that if he gets in the room, he’s going to get that job. The executive came back and said, ‘I really love Chris.’ And I go, ‘Well, yeah.’ And he asked if Section Eight would come on as producers, and I said, ‘Sure.’ That was it.”

So, there you have it. Next time you look at our guide to the Christopher Nolan movies, you can thank Steven Soderbergh! Have a look at our guide to the Oppenheimer cast and the Batman movies in order for more appreciation of his work.

We might not have legendary directors as fairy godmothers who can make your filmmaking dreams come true, but we do have guides to the best Disney movies, best Disney songs, best Disney princesses, and best Disney villains.