Christopher Nolan's rep denies he bans chairs from movie sets, but Mark Rylance says different

Ben Arnold
·3-min read
Nolan and Matthew McConaughey on the set of Interstellar (Credit: Warner Bros)
Nolan and Matthew McConaughey on the set of Interstellar (Credit: Warner Bros)

Christopher Nolan's reps have denied that he bans chairs from his movie sets, after Anne Hathaway revealed that the director requires his cast and crew to be working at all times.

Hathaway let slip the tidbit during an actor-on-actor discussion with Hugh Jackman, and it quickly went viral, with movie fans on Twitter having a field day.

Hathaway said: “Chris also doesn’t allow chairs. I worked with him twice. He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working.”

Read more: Christopher Nolan doesn’t allow chair on set

However, in a statement to Indiewire, Nolan's people have sought to clarify this.

“For the record, the only things banned from [Christopher Nolan’s] sets are cell phones (not always successfully) and smoking (very successfully),” a spokesperson said.

“The chairs Anne was referring to are the directors chairs clustered around the video monitor, allocated on the basis of hierarchy not physical need. Chris chooses not to use his but has never banned chairs from the set. Cast and crew can sit wherever and whenever they need and frequently do.”

So that's all settled then? Well, not quite.

It appears that Hathaway isn't the first to bring up the small matter of seating on the Inception director's sets.

Sir Mark Rylance, who worked with Nolan on Dunkirk, has also previously discussed this directorial idiosyncrasy.

He told the Press Association in 2017: “He (Nolan) is very secretive about the script, he likes to be in control of everything but, that said, he wasn’t over-controlling about our acting of scenes, he allowed us to play.

Photo by: KGC-49-182/STAR MAX/IPx 7/27/16 Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and director Christopher Nolan on the set of "Dunkirk".  This is Harry's first big movie role as a world war 2 soldier. (Weymouth, South West England)
Rylance and Nolan on the set of Dunkirk (Credit: KGC-49-182/STAR MAX/IPx)

“It was quite low-tech actually, that heavy camera was on the shoulder of the cameraman and he allowed us to roam around, it wasn’t too controlled there.

“But he absolutely controls everything else, he’s very particular about using film and about everything being real in front of the camera.

“He doesn’t like actors having chairs on set, so there is nowhere to sit down on a chair.”

Read more: Nolan blew up a real 747 in Tenet

He went on, joking: “You can sit down on other actors and as an older actor I’m allowed to sit on the younger actors.

“So that is why Tom Glynn-Carney [who plays his character's son Peter] isn’t here, because he’s had some complications, but he’s going to be alright with chiropractic help and modern surgical techniques. He might not play tennis again.”

As mentioned, Twitter has very much enjoyed this whole business...