Christopher Nolan earned a Best Director nomination earlier this year for his film Dunkirk, which shifts between three different timelines (on land, sea, and air) of the major World War II battle. His superhero film The Dark Knight remains just as astounding and influential 10 years after its release. Nolan has enjoyed a prolific career, and it all started with Memento, his 2000 thriller starring Guy Pearce as a man incapable of forming new memories.
Memento started Nolan’s style of using unusual story techniques. Because of the main character’s memory problem, the story is mostly told backwards. This could have made the film quite confusing to make, but on a new episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, Pearce told host Lola Ogunnaike he received a helpful hint with the script.
“When he sent it to me, my agent had written at the bottom of the letter, ‘By the way, it all goes backwards,'” Pearce recalls. “So I was prepared to be confused by it to some degree.”
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Even with that hint, though, Pearce still had to play the role differently than actors usually do.
“What was interesting is that in a normal film, you’re aware of where you’ve been 10 scenes before and how that affects where you might be now and where you’re going,” Pearce says. “This character clearly doesn’t remember any of that. So really he was just sort of turning up in every moment. I had to let go of what you as an actor you would normally hang onto. It was a freeing kind of process, really.”
Watch the full video above.