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The Bizarre Way Christopher Nolan Made Money Back For Interstellar

A filmmaker as skilled as Christopher Nolan must be a devoted student of his craft, and occasionally, of other crafts as well — including, odd as it may sound, growing and selling corn. Corn cropping was a central plot element of Nolan's 2014 science-fiction epic Interstellar, which takes place amid apocalyptic dust storms and crop failures in the year 2067. Corn, in this world, is one of the few crops that can still be successfully grown. But it was also one of the film's chief obstacles.

In the script, the filmmaker calls for a landscape that didn't exactly exist. He describes two natural elements rarely found side by side: acres upon acres of corn, and then mountains in the distance. This type of terrain is not a place where one would naturally find the crop because the wind from the mountains has the potential to kill it quite easily, but Nolan was adamant about building the farmhouse in the view of the peaks, and the corn was non-negotiable as well given its centrality to the story. As members of the cast and crew discussed the making of the film, they revealed that in order to make it all happen, the corn had been planted specifically for the film.

Interstellar earned money from the barn to the box office

It turned out that the corn presented all kinds of obstacles. Besides the fact that the corn wasn't even supposed to be there (though we can assume that, given the famine, people probably started growing corn wherever they could), the commentary explains how green corn does not burn, despite the scene in which Jessica Chastain's adult Murphy is seen somberly burning a field to the ground. Nolan simply replied, "Well, in our movie, it does."

As pointed out by Cinema Blend, Interstellar is notable for having far less CGI and more real sets than you'd expect for an epic sci-fi drama, and the real cornfields were no exception. The filmmaker is very used to facing up to massive challenges to create a film that looks exactly how he wants it, and stated in a roundtable discussion (via The Hollywood Reporter) that a film doesn't always need to be understood. Having to grow his own corn created some logical loopholes and was a bit of an unforeseen expense, but Zack Snyder had done it for 2013's Man of Steel, so Nolan set about trying to figure out how to accomplish the task practically. In the end, he told The Hollywood Reporter, the crop didn't fail the way experts said it would, and they made back every dollar they spent planting it.