Secrets behind Christopher Nolan’s bizarre red and black script tradition explained

Virgin Radio

20 Feb 2024, 16:28

Cillian Muprhy and a picture of his red and black Oppenheimer script

Credit: Getty/60 Minutes

A behind the scenes interview with Cillian Murphy has revealed an interesting fact about Christopher Nolan’s film scripts.

During an interview for the American TV show 60 Minutes, the BAFTA Best Actor-winner showed off his original Oppenheimer script in all its perplexing glory.

Murphy’s script - just like all Nolan original script copies, it turns out - was printed in black ink on a wad of red paper, making the text harder to read than the more familiar black text on white paper layout.

Rather than being designed to give his lead actors a hard time reading, Nolan’s red and black film scripts in fact follow an industry tradition of printing scripts in this way in order to try and prevent them from being from illegally copied and leaked ahead of time.

“[His scripts] are always printed on red paper with black ink, unhelpfully, I guess to prevent against photocopying,” the Irish actor told the interviewer while showing him his now frayed original script. “But I don’t know who photocopies in 2024,” he quipped.

“But anyway, he’s always had a tradition of printing on red paper with black ink… Then it has my name kind of watermarked on each page, so it’s my fault [if it leaks],” the actor - who has collaborated with Nolan six times - added.

Interstellar actress Jessica Chastain has also in the past shown off her own red and black original Nolan script for the 2014 film.

During his interview, Murphy also revealed the note the director attached to his script when handing it to him in person at his home in Ireland.

“Dearest Cillian, finally a chance to see you lead,” it read, referring to how despite starring in five of the director’s projects prior to Oppenheimer, Murphy had previously played supporting roles rather than the leads in Nolan's films.

Keep an eye on for more entertainment stories.