Can Kubrick-Inspired ‘Interstellar’ Land McConaughey and Nolan Oscars?

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A new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming space adventure, Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey, has been released after the pair teased viewers at Comic-Con with some footage from the film and a discussion about the inspirations behind it. Watch the new trailer here, with the password 7201969.

Interstellar is about an astronaut, played by McConaughey, who accepts a mission into space that will save humanity, despite the fact that in doing so, he’s leaving his children behind for an unknown period of time. Anne Hathaway plays one of the other astronauts on the mission, and Jessica Chastain is McConaughey’s daughter as an adult. Frequent Nolan collaborator Michael Caine also has a role as the head of McConaughey’s mission.

The premise is that near-future Earth has run out of natural resources, most importantly food, and so a talented astronaut is needed to undertake a mission to scout out a new planet for humans to inhabit. McConaughey’s character, also a talented engineer, is reluctant to leave behind his son and daughter, but his skills are needed to save humankind.

Of course, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey came up during their discussion, and Kubrick’s influence is apparent in the trailer. Last week at Comic-Con, Nolan and McConaughey made their first appearances at the event and discussed the inspirations for Interstellar. “I’ve always been a huge fan of science fiction. I grew up being amazed by science fiction — 2001, Star Wars. But I grew up in a time when being an astronaut was the highest ambition. And the idea that we would keep exploring space and pushing further and further out seemed inevitable,” Nolan said, per Indie Wire. “That has fallen out in the past couple of decades. Technology has gone through a huge change. I think we’re on the new cusp of a brand new era of exploration.”

To get McConaughey on board, the director invited the actor to his home, where they had a three-hour discussion that didn’t involve the film. “I go meet Christopher at his house and we talked for three hours,” McConaughey said. “He doesn’t say one word about any new film or me having a role in it. But evidently he liked me and I enjoyed meeting him. A week later the script came in, I read it quite a lot and I was in.”

Added McConaughey: “Christopher is always out for original. It doesn’t matter if it’s a great idea from a Stanley Kubrick idea. He might appreciate it but he won’t repeat it. When you’re on set, he’s completely conceived of this world. It was like shooting a little independent film. Two or three takes and we move on. He’s a man whose reach constantly exceeds his grasp. And it’s true in this film — it’s by far the most ambitious film that Christopher Nolan has ever directed.”

“I think the single biggest influence was 2001, which they re-released after Star Wars came out and I was able to go with my dad to see it on the big screen. It was such a memorable experience for me. We have an ambition on this film, not to do what that film did, but tell a similarly ambitious story on that scale. I want kids to be able to go with their parents and watch this story unfold,” Nolan said.

All of that Kubrick influence is highly apparent in the space shots that are highlighted in the latest trailer. While an earlier trailer for the film revealed more of what goes on back on Earth, this new one gives a glimpse at what Nolan’s vision for outer space will look like.

Landing McConaughey for the part was a big victory for the director, as the former leading Romeo of romantic comedies has transformed himself into one of the best actors in the business in practically the blink of an eye. McConaughey won an Academy Award earlier this year for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, then immediately after that win, his part on the HBO series True Detective was hailed as both his greatest performance to date and one of the best of the year.

This movie is perfectly tailored to the awards show circuit and could even nab some Oscars, if Academy voters aren’t too reluctant to hand out trophies to another space movie for the second year in a row after Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity won seven of the awards last year, making Cuaron the first Hispanic ever to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

Nolan hasn’t yet won an Oscar, though he’s been nominated three times for his work on Inception and Memento. If Interstellar proves to be more Kubrick homage than ripoff, it might land Nolan his first Academy Award. As for acting, Sandra Bullock was nominated for Best Actress for her role as an astronaut in Gravity, and maybe the McConaughey magic will convince the Academy to give a trophy to a space cadet.

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