Christopher Nolan’s about to find out firsthand that, well, you just can’t please everyone.
Christopher Priest, the author of “The Prestige,” called the famed director of the Dark Knight Trilogy to task for his “boring and pretentious” films after praising him for his work on “Memento” and, of course, the 2006 movie adaptation of Priest's own novel about dueling magicians.
“I don’t like his other work,” Priest told French movie site Skript. “I think it’s shallow and badly written. I mean, I’ve got kids who like superheroes and they think the Batman films are boring and pretentious. They like things like ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Iron Man’ because they’re fun.”
Obviously, the author’s not completely averse to superhero movies, why does he have such a problem with Nolan’s take on the genre?
“It’s a wrong move to take a superhero and give it psychological realism. There is no psychological realism. He’s a bodybuilder who jumps off buildings. To me, that's a real major lack of judgment in Nolan, to go for superhero films. I feel this very strongly."
Although it seems as if Priest has no love for the auteur responsible for turning his best-selling novel into a blockbuster, the British novelist does have some advice for the filmmaker he chose to give a chance in the director’s chair over Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes.
"We got three offers [to adapt the book]," Priest recalled. "One was from Sam Mendes, who just made American Beauty; it was exactly at that point. On the day I heard from Mendes, he was up for seven Academy Awards for American Beauty, and in the end he won five, including Best Film. So that was a superb offer. It was going to be his next film after American Beauty, so I was keen on that."
But before things were officially confirmed, Nolan came to plead his case.
"Word got back to Nolan or his wife, who is his producer, and I got a message, email or something, that said 'There's a motorbike on its way; don't decide anything!'" Priest said. "And so an hour later a motorbike came to my house and gave me a VHS; that's how long ago it was — a VHS of 'Following' — and there was a note on it that said 'Watch this film, and try to imagine what the filmmaker can do with a Hollywood facilities behind him.' So I watched the film, and I took a chance and decided that Nolan was probably going to be good, and so I selected Nolan over Mendes. I don't think he knows that."
So, despite his dislike for the Dark Knight, Priest isn't totally against Nolan and his work.
“To the world he's this great, innovative filmmaker; to me, he was a kid who wanted to get into Hollywood,” he added. “What’s he’s trying to be is some kind of modern Stanley Kubrick. And I think he’d be better off being a modern Alfred Hitchcock, basically. A maker of well-made films like ‘Memento’ and ‘The Prestige.’ And these blockbusters are just embarrassing, I think. I haven’t seen the new one yet.”
The "new one" is Nolan's epic space odyssey, "Interstellar," which stars recent Oscar winner, Matthew McConaughey.
What do you think? Is Priest right about the Dark Knight movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.