Nolan, McConaughey surprise with 'interstellar'

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey came to Comic-Con unannounced and surprised attendees with a first look at "Interstellar," but neither offered many details about the highly anticipated space adventure.

"I can tell you a lot, but I'm not going to," McConaughey said at Thursday's Paramount Pictures panel.

The Oscar winner plays a pilot and engineer grounded in a dystopian land where all space exploration has ceased. His character is a widowed father of two who is given an opportunity to travel into the stars long after he gave up his dreams of flight.

"It's by far the most ambitious film Mr. Nolan has ever directed," McConaughey said before the director of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy emerged on stage for his first Comic-Con appearance.

"We thought it'd be fun to come down and see what all the fuss is about," Nolan said to raucous applause. "It's an incredible event. There's nothing like it anywhere in the world."

A lifelong sci-fi fan, Nolan was inspired to make "Interstellar" because he felt real space exploration had fallen off greatly in recent decades. When he was a kid, he said, becoming an astronaut was the highest ambition of any child.

"Growing up when I did, the idea of a journey that would take you not just through the solar system, not just through this galaxy but into a whole other galaxy, that's as big a journey you can try to imagine telling on film," the 43-year-old filmmaker said.

The moody trailer showed a spaceship launch with McConaughey and co-star Anne Hathaway in space suits traveling to another galaxy. In one particularly haunting scene, the pair is seen in peril amid raging waters on an alien world at the other end of a wormhole.

Nolan shot the film in IMAX from a script co-written by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist who's an expert in space and wormholes, helped the Nolans base their story on real-world research.

Christopher Nolan cited "Star Wars," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Blade Runner" as the films that influenced him most. He recalled watching "Blade Runner" with his family in London.

"We really have an ambition with this film, not to do what that one did because I don't think anybody ever could, but to tell a similarly ambitious story in scope and scale," he said. "That is to say I want kids today to be able to go with their parents and sit and watch this story unfold on an enormous screen and really feel engaged with it."

"Interstellar" is set for release in November.