Case File One: A “small” story
To begin the investigation, let’s travel back a year to February 2009.
It’s seven months since Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight gripped the world, dodging the killer sequel curse to produce something that big bruv Batman Begins could be proud of.
We gave it five stars, and called it “a dazzling, determined superhero classic”. Added we: “Ledger puts Nicholson in the shade. With Batman Begins Nolan set the bar; with TDK he's just raised it.”
Time for Batman 3, right?
Wrong. Just as Nolan took a break to helm a more personal project after Batman Begins, forging pretzel-shaped period piece The Prestige, the director decided to make something outside of the Batverse before contemplating a third stab at the superhero franchise.
So, what would it be? A taut, small-budget thriller? A character-driven, introspective drama? We waited with bated breath.
Nolan joked about making a “very intimate, small story that happens to be photographed on a ridiculously large scale”. But what would it be?
Finally on 11 February, 2009, Warner Bros confirmed that they would be producing Mr Nolan’s fifth film, the curiously tagged Inception. They had already pre-emptively bought the director’s spec script after Dark Knight mopped up.
“Chris Nolan is a visionary filmmaker who continually raises the bar with each movie he makes,” said WB Group president Jeff Robinov. “We are thrilled to be collaborating again with him and [producer wife] Emma on this exciting new motion picture.”
Shooting was to begin in summer 2009, with a summer 2010 release date pinned down. But what would it be? Nobody was talking when it came to cast or plot details.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Nolan would be working from an original, self-scribed script , and that the film would be “a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind”.
Yeah, fancy vagueing that up for us?
Read our Inception review.