Christopher Nolan reveals why he bans phones from his movie sets

Ben Arnold
UK Movies Writer
No blowers… Nolan on why he bans phones from his movie sets – Credit: AP

If Christopher Nolan spots you texting or snapping a selfie on set, you’d better prepare for the wrath.

For the British director has a blanket ban on all phones in the workplace.

“There’s a mass belief that if you’re texting, you’re somehow not interrupting the conversation – you’re not being rude,” he told Esquire.

“It’s an illusion of multitasking. I started filmmaking when people didn’t expect to have a phone on set, when it would’ve been seen as unprofessional to pull out a phone.

“Phones have become a huge distraction, and people work much better without them. If you have people in a creative environment where they have to concentrate on what they’re doing, you can’t have them wandering off in their minds.

“You can’t be texting somebody else and paying attention to what’s going on. If you call people on it, they’ll repeat the last thing you said. They repeat the words with zero understanding of what they meant.

(Credit: Warner Bros)

“And then over the next minute, you see them start to understand the words for the first time. You can absorb audio information just at the level that you can repeat it back, without understanding.”

But how do you implement such a ban when phones are now so ubiquitous?

“At first it causes difficulty, but it really allows them to concentrate on what they’re doing,” he added.

“Everybody understands. I’ve had a lot of crews thank me. With a set, we’re trying to create a bubble of alternate reality.”

Nolan’s latest movie ‘Dunkirk’ is out now across the UK.

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