He’s made some of the most acclaimed films of the 21st century – and it seems director Christopher Nolan runs a tight ship.
Actress Anne Hathaway, who played Catwoman in Nolan’s 2012 Batman hit The Dark Knight Rises and worked with him again two years later on Interstellar, reveals the director has an unusual rule on his sets.
“Chris also doesn’t allow chairs. I worked with him twice. He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working,” Hathaway says in a video chat with fellow actor Hugh Jackman for Variety.
“I mean, he has these incredible movies in terms of scope and ambition and technical prowess and emotion. It always arrives at the end under schedule and under budget. I think he’s onto something with the chair thing.”
As the interview circulated, some social media users mocked “the chair thing” and Nolan’s reputation as a tough director:
Hathaway also revealed Nolan banned mobile phones on set – a less unusual request, given Jackman said that two other directors he’d worked with, Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain) and Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), both applied the same rule.
“Both of them had exactly the same reason, which is exactly what you were saying: It’s about intentionality. Both of them talk about the space being sacred. If you’re on a cellphone, it dissipates that energy,” said Jackman.
Despite the chair and phone-free environment, Hathaway was glowing in her praise of working with Nolan: “You know how you have those jobs and you just go, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to work again because this was such fun?’” she said of her stint as Catwoman.
See Hathaway and Jackman’s full chat for Variety below:
Elsewhere in the chat, Hathaway jokingly accuses Jackman of “setting me up badly” by inviting her to appear on stage when he hosted the Oscars in 2009.
“You made it seem easy, and it’s really, really not,” she said. “You made everything seem like it was so much fun, so when it came around that they asked me to do it, I thought, ‘I’m gonna be like Hugh, yeah I’ll give it a go!’ How could you?”
Hathaway famously hosted the Oscars two years later alongside James Franco – generally considered to be one of the worst ceremonies in recent years.
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In a BBC interview that recirculated recently, Hathaway offered up an unusual story about her original audition for the role of Catwoman.
Somehow, Hathaway got her wires very crossed – and thought she was auditioning for the role of Harley Quinn, an accomplice of the Joker. She made sure she dressed the part for the audition, channelling the Joker’s menacing clown energy.
“I came in and I had this lovely Vivienne Westwood kind of beautiful-but-mad tailoring top with stripes going everywhere. And I wore these flat Joker-y looking shoes. And I was trying to give Chris (Nolan) these crazy little smiles,” Hathaway explained.
“About an hour into the meeting he said ‘Well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but it’s Catwoman.’ And I was shifting into a different gear. ‘Now OK, we’re slinky. We’re slinky. And I hate my shirt. I love my shirt, but I hate it right now. We’re slinky,’” she recalled with a laugh.