Production designer Nathan Crowley creates new worlds – and spaceships – for ‘Interstellar’

Nathan Crowley has earned Oscar nominations for his work on two Christopher Nolan films (for “The Prestige” (2006) and “The Dark Knight” (2008)) and is likely to receive a third for “Interstellar.” For this film, he created a wide variety of sets on Earth and in outer space as well as a few spaceships. In an age when almost any set can be designed with a green screen, Crowley built each spacecraft used, something that he says is common practice on a Nolan film. “We’ve always decided that anything we can do practically, we should do practically,” he reveals in our webcam chat (watch below).

As he elaborates: “I think that if you build these objects and build them practically, it gives some sort of reality, some sort of visceral-ness to the film. We don’t really discuss whether we’re gonna build it or not: we just do.” The same goes for the design of the various planets the astronauts visit in their quest to find a new home for the inhabitants of Earth.

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Crowley spoke of one in particular, filmed on location in Iceland, and how the unpredictable weather helped influence the design, something he believes never would have happened had the set been created on a computer. “I can’t imagine not doing that practically, because the design evolves. To me, it’s a piece of architecture that you develop, and it’s not how you planned it on paper, but it becomes something else.”

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Crowley’s currently ranked third with odds of 5/1, right behind the production designers for “Into the Woods” (3/1) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (3/1).

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