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'Interstellar' sound issues are deliberate, says director Nolan

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 6:27 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Svinafellsjokull, a glacier in the Vatnajokull National Park, is one of the locations used in the filming of new movie "Interstellar." Svinafellsjokull, a glacier in the Vatnajokull National Park, is one of the locations used in the filming of new movie "Interstellar."
'Interstellar's' Iceland
Svinafellsjokull glacier
On another planet
Ice walking kit
Cinematic view
Shifting scenery
Deep crevasses
Advance and retreat
Ice hole
Marbled snow
Ice walking
Glacier guide
White and blue ice
Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon
Among the icebergs
Frozen film set
  • Some viewers have been complaining about "Interstellar's" sound
  • Sometimes murky mix was deliberate, says director Christopher Nolan
  • The idea was to emphasize experience on screen, he said

(CNN) -- Having trouble hearing the dialogue in "Interstellar"? You're not the only one.

But that's the point, says director Christopher Nolan.

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"Many of the filmmakers I've admired over the years have used sound in bold and adventurous ways," Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter. "I don't agree with the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue."

"Interstellar" has been the subject of chatter about its layered sound design, which occasionally buries dialogue from the actors underneath sound effects and Hans Zimmer's sometimes booming score. One IMAX theater even posted a notice: "Please note that all our sound equipment is functioning properly. Christopher Nolan mixed the soundtrack with an emphasis on the music. This is how it is intended to sound."

One viewer -- who saw the movie in a renowned Los Angeles theater -- told Billboard magazine, "I noticed right away that there were parts where the music totally obliterates the dialogue."

Naturally, Twitter was all over it.

"Breaking! Christopher Nolan breaks silence on INTERSTELLAR sound issues: 'I don't care about dialogue!' " wrote Kevin Carr.

"Christopher Nolan doesn't think INTERSTELLAR's sound issues are issues at all. What? WE SAID, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN..." chimed The Dissolve.

Nolan's sound design has come under fire -- and mockery -- before. The "WHOOM" of "Inception" became so well known that it even inspired a Web page.

Nolan, who visits theaters in advance of his films' official release to make sure the audio is up to snuff, says he hasn't heard of any problems.

"The theaters I have been at have been doing a terrific job in terms of presenting the film in the way I intended," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Broadly speaking, there is no question when you mix a film in an unconventional way as this, you're bound to catch some people off guard, but hopefully people can appreciate the experience for what it's intended to be."

Well, it could be worse. Nolan could be overusing "Carmina Burana."