Were you scientifically rigorous with your screenplay?
Here’s the balancing act – after the first year or so of research you come back and you say well, the realistic version of this is there’s no wormhole. The realistic version of a space exploration film is we run out of gas without getting even close to encountering anywhere else remotely hospitable. In this moment in time the idea of finding other planets that are habitable, that we can set foot on, is ridiculous and impossible. But you just have to look at history to understand that humanity is, if nothing else, incredibly good at overcoming obstacles to its own survival.
Do you think Interstellar might inspire a generation?
I think you have to be very careful. We tried very hard not to make the film didactic. I think there is something that’s gone a bit missing or a bit awry in terms of that impulse to explore and travel and reach out and see the universe. We’re definitely in a moment right now where we’re considering the damage we’ve done to our own planet. We’re in a bit of a self- hating moment, for some good reasons and some bad ones, and I think that may have curbed our impulse. But humanity has been defined in many ways by its curiosity. It’s definitely a fundamental attribute of ours. I grew up with these dreams of humans taking that next step out into the universe, and I think if we do it conscientiously and carefully then it’s our destiny.