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After working side by side for more than a decade, Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister are going their separate ways-- for now, at least. Pfister is embarking on his directorial debut, assembling the cast for the secretive sci-fi project Transcendence, while Nolan is moving on to his first post-Batman project… the secretive sci-fi project Interstellar. We would expect Pfister to have pretty similar taste to Nolan after working together for so long, but as we've been writing about developments on both films, we've found ourselves mixing them up constantly… as in, every single time we write about it.
But there's no need for us to be confused! As we'll show in this five-point guide below, there is absolutely no reason to get Interstellar and Transcendence confused. They're totally different secret sci-fi project starring men who look great in hats! Allow us to guide you below.
Wally Pfister vs. Christopher Nolan
From the moment we first learned about either of the two projects, it was immediately confusing. The word of Pfister's directorial debut, when it broke last fall was all about "Christopher Nolan's cinematographer," especially since he was keeping the details under wraps and left us nothing else to talk about. When Nolan announced in January that he was taking over Interstellar, the details were similarly vague. So two secretive sci-fi movies directed by people who stood behind the camera on The Dark Knight? Got it. No confusion at all.
Johnny Depp vs. Matthew McConaughey Not long after both directors picked these projects, they immediately started eyeing A-list leading men to head them up. Johnny Depp made headlines when he was reportedly in negotiations to make $20 million to star in Transcendence, while McConaughey was an inspired but unconventional choice for Interstellar. Neither of them has starred in a science fiction film since the late 90s (The Astronaut's Wife vs. Contact). Both of them look great in hats. Nope, no confusion here at all.
Supercomputers vs. Space Travel Here are the scraps of what we know about both movies. "Transcendence will have Depp playing a scientist who transfers his consciousness into a supercomputer with the hope of creating the world’s first machine that can think for itself." "Interstellar will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding." So they both star men trying to push science past its own boundaries? Totally clear distinction!
Anne Hathaway vs. Kate Mara & Rebecca Hall Transcendence has a slightly more rounded-out cast, having gotten started earlier, and so far both Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara in supporting female roles (that, of course, are completely secret otherwise). Meanwhile Nolan has gone ahead and reunited with his Catwoman by casting Anne Hathaway. Sure, Hathaway has the distinction of a new Oscar and that awesome pixie haircut, but all three women are scene-stealers in supporting roles and-- get this-- were all born within 10 months of each other. Considering how Photoshopped they'll inevitably be on the posters, surely there's no way anyone could confuse them… right?
Morgan Freeman vs. some inevitable member of the Inception cast Here's where things finally crossed the line from "confusing" to "insane." Yesterday Morgan Freeman became the latest name to join Transcendence, marking the first official crossover between the recurring casts of Christopher Nolan's films and Pfister's effort. It makes sense, of course-- the cast would inevitably come to trust the DP, especially over three Batman films-- but now it's only going to add to the confusion when Nolan inevitably casts another familiar face from the Batman trilogy or Inception. My money's on Michael Caine. Can you really be expected to remember which one, Freeman or Caine, is in which?