ShoWest 2010: Chris Nolan Reveals More Inception Secrets

The highlight of the last day of ShoWest 2010 was clearly Warner Bros.’ The Big Picture Presentation, a star-studded affair which featured appearances by the stars and filmmakers of some of Warner Bros.’ upcoming slate for the summer and beyond. ComingSoon.net had a chance to attend the event and beforehand, we spoke with a number of the filmmakers and actors involved on the red carpet.

We have a lot to share with you, but we’ll start with the presentation for Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the filmmaker’s enigmatic project that’s been shrouded in mystery even after the debut of the first trailer, but the Wizard of Oz wanted to give exhibitors a peek behind the curtain by showing a lot of new footage from the movie.

After thanking exhibitors for helping with the success of The Dark Knight, Nolan introduced the footage by saying that he couldn’t promise that it would explain everything the film is about, but what he explained that it was “an action film told in a grand scale by a character played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who runs a team of people who have access to a technology that allows them to enter people’s minds through their dreams.” He described dreams as both intimate and infinite experiences that will allow one to go any place, so they went to six different countries to shoot it, and that he wanted to create an immersive experience similar to the ones he treasured when he was a child while watching the James Bond movies and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The footage shown was quite fascinating because it had a lot of enigmatic visuals similar to the ones we’ve seen before, but it’s also a little clearer what is going on bearing in mind the general premise. It certainly looks like Nolan may have created something that falls in line with The Matrix in terms of combining action with philosophy, which certainly would make the movie very different from everything else coming out this summer.

While it was hard to catch everything that went by, the footage started with Leo cocking a gun and his voiceover saying, “There’s one thing you should know about me. An inception is an idea that’s like a virus, it’s highly contagious. The small seed of an idea can grow to define or destroy you.”

What follows are eerie visuals with people floating and the ethereal string chords build, as we see Leo sitting at a table in an ornately adorned room explaining to Ken Watanabe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt what they do:

“In the dream state, your consciousness defenses lower,” he tells them. “It makes your thoughts vulnerable to theft, called extraction. So you can actually train your subconscious to defend itself from the most skilled extractor.”

Watanabe asks how he knows that to which Leo replies, “Because I AM the best extractor.”

It then gets into a mission with some interaction between the three characters talking about it with Leo telling them that they won’t just need a good thief, but a forger. Throughout, we see a few shots of Marion Cotillard and Cillian Murphy, and we may have seen Tom Hardy, but honestly, we’re not sure what he looks like when not dolled up as Charlie Bronson! In one scene, Leonardo yells at Joseph Gordon-Levitt about him not being prepared to take a job, and we see some action as the field agents. Some of the more striking visuals are those on snowy mountains similar to the Tibet scenes from Batman Begins with lots of agents driving around on snowmobiles.

Another voiceover says something like, “Dreams feel real while we’re in them, it’s only when we wake up that we realize we’re actually strangling” – not quite sure about the last part because the strings were getting more intense as the footage continued. Leo tells someone, “We specialize in a very specific type of security, subconscious security.”

“You talking about dreams?” he’s asked in return.

After the tagline of “Your Mind is the Scene of the Crime” comes on screen, we’re introduced to Michael Caine’s character who seems to be a recruiter for Leo’s team. He tells Ellen Page’s character, “If you have a couple months, Mr. Cartwright has a job he would like to discuss with you.”

Ellen Page asks, “Are you work placement?”

And then we see some of the crazy visuals of buildings falling over and crumbling into water similar to the first trailer, and it ends with Leo saying, “Not exactly.”

So we’ve learned a little more about the movie from what we were told and shown but still not enough to know the entire plot or anything even remotely close.

Earlier, we had a chance to do a quick shaky cam interview with Mr. Nolan and his producer wife Emma Thomas, along with the talented Katey Rich from Cinema Blend which you can watch below:


Inception opens on July 16. Look for the rest of our coverage of Warner Bros.’ ShoWest presentation soon.

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