Christopher Nolan wants to a make horror movie – but needs “exceptional idea”

Christopher Nolan has revealed that he wants to make a horror movie, but only if the idea is “really exceptional”.

The Oppenheimer director was speaking at an in-conversation event at London’s British Film Institute (BFI) on Thursday (February 16), attended by a sold-out audience.

When asked by one audience member if he would ever consider making a horror film, Nolan replied (via Variety): “Oppenheimer has elements of horror in it definitely, as I think is appropriate to the subject matter.


“I think horror films are very interesting because they depend on very cinematic devices, it really is about a visceral response to things and so, at some point, I’d love to make a horror film. But I think a really good horror film requires a really exceptional idea. And those are few and far between. So I haven’t found a story that lends itself to that.”

He continued: “But I think it’s a very interesting genre from a cinematic point of view. It’s also one of the few genres where the studios make a lot of these films, and they are films that have a lot of bleakness, a lot of abstraction. They have a lot of the qualities that Hollywood is generally very resistant to putting in films, but that’s a genre where it’s allowable.”

Christopher Nolan. Credit: Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images

During the talk, Nolan also expanded on the idea of experimenting with genre, noting how the middle of Oppenheimer features “very heavy” heist elements, while the third act is a courtroom drama.

“The reason I settled on those two genres for those sections is they are mainstream genres in which dialogue, people talking, is inherently intense and interesting to an audience. That’s the fun thing with genre, you can play with a lot of different areas, where in a different type of film you really wouldn’t be allowed to,” Nolan said.

Oppenheimer and Nolan are expected to win big at the 77th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), which takes place this weekend. The film, director and cast members Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. are also strong favourites to win in their respective categories at the 2024 Oscars.