Call him Christopher No-sit.
Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan‘s secret to a top-grossing flick has been revealed: no chairs on set.
“He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working,” says Anne Hathaway, who starred in Nolan’s 2014 sci-fi flick “Interstellar” and played Catwoman in his 2012 movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” She reveals the rule during a video chat with her former “Les Misérables” co-star Hugh Jackman for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” issue. The magazine released the Skype session Monday night, exposing some head-scratching details about the storied director’s strict on-set standards.
Hathaway, who snagged a 2013 Oscar for her role in director Tom Hopper’s “Les Mis,” seems to back the decree. “[The movie] always arrives at the end under schedule and under budget. I think he’s onto something with the chair thing,” she tells Jackman, who worked with Nolan on the 2006 film “The Prestige.”
“He’s broken [filmmaking] down to its most minimal,” says Hathaway, 37, who went on to call 49-year-old Nolan “inspiring.” Perhaps “most minimal” means cast and crew should find a wall to lean on if they need a break.
However, Nolan’s spokesperson later said in a statement to IndieWire that the director does indeed allow chairs, but bans some other items from sets.
“For the record, the only things banned from [Christopher Nolan’s] sets are cell phones (not always successfully) and smoking (very successfully),” the spokesperson said. “The chairs Anne was referring to are the directors chairs clustered around the video monitor, allocated on the basis of hierarchy not physical need. Chris chooses not to use his but has never banned chairs from the set. Cast and crew can sit wherever and whenever they need and frequently do.”
Although Hathaway and Jackman spend most of their hourlong chat heaping praise on each other — “You can’t compliment me before I compliment you!” coos Hathaway at one point — Jackman does dish on other director demands, including a no-cellphone rule established by Nolan, Darren Aronofsky (Jackman starred in his 2006 film “The Fountain”) and Denis Villeneuve (Jackman was in his 2013 movie “Prisoners”).
Jackman, who most recently starred in HBO’s “Bad Education,” even offers an odd, new-wave reasoning for the edict: “It’s about intentionality,” says the 51-year-old actor, adding that it’s “about the space being sacred. If you’re on a cellphone, it dissipates that energy.”
Hathaway also offers a mea culpa for bungling her 2011 co-hosting of the Oscars — The Post called her turn “hyperactive” — by heaping praise on Jackman’s hosting performance in 2009.
“I’m so happy that 50% of the people on this conversation did a really good job hosting the Oscars,” she says with humility.