Christopher Nolan

Memento - themes and cast

Interviewed by David Wood

One of the most striking themes of the film is the utter inconsequence of actions and indeed emotions such as revenge and jealousy.

All that stuff was in my brother Jonathan's original story. For me it was such a wedge to open up these questions. Revenge is a particularly interesting concept, especially the notion of whether or not it exists outside of just an abstract idea. What's been interesting about the film is the differing reactions to it. Older people are less comfortable with it because the film sides with the idea that we are pretty much living within our own heads. I think that as people get older that notion becomes more frightening.

Guy Pearce's performance is amazing, as is that of Carrie-Ann Moss. Were these actors that you had in mind when expanded your brother's story?

I try not to have actors in mind when I write because the tendency then is to be influenced by either their last performance or your favourite of their performances. I try and come up with more abstract characters. Later you get to the exciting point where you think, right, "Who can play this role?" In the case of Leonard in "Memento", he could have been played by all manner of actors of different ages. What I was really looking for was somebody extremely talented who could really carry this movie because Leonard is not only in almost every scene, he is also in almost every shot. When I met Guy Pearce, it was very clear that he had an enthusiasm for the project and was extremely meticulous and committed, which he had to be because we shot in 25 days so it was an extraordinary schedule.

How happy was your brother with the film?

He's into it and is pretty proud of what we managed to put together.

Christopher Nolan talks about the visual and narrative style of "Memento".

Read our review of "Memento".