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'Interstellar' makes some noise at Hollywood coming-out party

'Interstellar' makes some noise at Hollywood coming-out party
Matthew McConaughey stars in the sci-fi epic "Interstellar." (Melinda Sue Gordon / Paramount Pictures)

Taylor Swift shut down Hollywood Boulevard on Thursday night, shaking it off in a brief concert for Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show.

But a bigger noise was going on across the street inside the TCL Chinese Theater, where Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated sci-fi epic "Interstellar" enjoyed a 70mm IMAX coming-out party for an audience of Screen Actors Guild members, journalists and critics.

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The movie -- and a subsequent Q&A with cast members Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway -- was greeted with solid applause, but seemed to fall short of being the life-changing (or at least mind-blowing) event many hoped it would be.

Then again, Nolan gives his audience a lot to unpack in the film's two-hour, 49-minute running time, so there's much to absorb, not to mention a persistent ringing in the ears thanks to Hans Zimmer's ... let's just say,  enthusiastic ... score. The story of a pioneer-spirited father (McConaughey) who leaves the planet (and his two children) to find a new home for humankind before the Earth dries up, "Interstellar" is filled with enough rumination on the nature of relativity that it's tempting to want to ask Eddie Redmayne to come on down and lead a Q&A with the filmmakers.

But, alas, there were no theoretical physicists in the house. Instead, the 900-plus audience (many were turned away at the door) heard the actors answer questions that hit what will undoubtedly be the film's awards-season talking points -- praising the ambition of the piece, yes, but most of all, talking about the emotion behind it.

"Christopher Nolan gets more scope and scale on film than any director I've ever worked with," McConaughey said. "But at the same time, you have such an intimate story, such a personal story. I think it was very personal for Chris."

Hathaway admitted that much of the movie's metaphysical musings eluded her, saying it took "months and months" for her to figure her character out. "It's not the script, it's me," she said.

It's safe to say that "Interstellar" will appeal to Nolan's rabidly loyal fan(boy/girl) base and perhaps welcome a few newcomers inside the tent too. Some true-believers have already taken to Twitter, expressing amazement that Nolan made them cry for the first time with this movie. (Wait. This didn't bring a tear to your eye? What kind of monster are you?)

Paramount will continue to screen "Interstellar" over the weekend, and academy members will have a crack at it en masse on Nov. 1, six days before its theatrical opening. The conversation is just getting started.

Twitter: @GlennWhipp

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