Where Was Interstellar Filmed? Unveiling the Unreal Locations!

Interstellar, the brainchild of Christopher Nolan, is as much a cinematic marvel as it is a cornerstone in science fiction storytelling. With its profound themes of love, time, and the endurance of the human spirit, the 2014 epic takes viewers on a journey through beautifully rendered galaxies and distant worlds.

While the narrative paints a picture of intergalactic travel, the real-world locations where the movie was filmed are no less remarkable.

The production team spanned the globe to convert Earth into the desolate, dust-filled future of Nolan’s vision. A cornfield in Alberta, Canada, became the protagonist’s farm, and the country’s dramatic glaciers posed as alien planets. This pairing of practical effects with authentic settings underscores the film’s dedication to realism amidst its cosmic spectacle.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles locations like the Westin Bonaventure Hotel’s lobby offered an architectural semblance to a high-tech NASA facility, grounding the film’s more futuristic elements in a tangible reality. Let’s find out more about where was Interstellar filmed.

Key Takeaways

  • Nolan’s Interstellar merges profound narrative elements with real-world filming locations
  • Practical effects and authentic settings underscore the film’s commitment to realism
  • The choice of diverse locations echoes the vast thematic exploration of the movie

Pre-Production and Development

Before the cameras started rolling on the set of Interstellar, a rich journey of conception, writing, and assembling a stellar cast unfolded. Christopher Nolan and his team embarked on what would be a groundbreaking venture into the cosmos, as much about human connection as it was about the science fiction elements.

Concept and Writing

Christopher Nolan collaborated closely with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, on the script for Interstellar. The project originally took shape under the guidance of producer Lynda Obst and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who is known for his work on gravitational physics and astrophysics.

With Obst’s concept and Thorne’s scientific expertise, the Nolan brothers crafted a story that aimed to be as scientifically accurate as possible, focusing not only on the vastness of space but also on the intimate human emotions that drive the characters.

  • Writers: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
  • Scientific Consultant: Kip Thorne
  • Initial Concept: Lynda Obst

The screenplay’s development involved thorough discussions about complex scientific theories, ensuring that the movie’s portrayal of wormholes and black holes would stand up to critical scrutiny, yet be accessible for the audience.


Once the Interstellar script was ready, Nolan, alongside his producer and spouse Emma Thomas, began the process of casting. They needed actors who could not only handle the emotional weight of the story but also resonate with a global audience through the depths of space and time.

  • Casting Choices
    • Matthew McConaughey: Cast as Cooper, the engineer-turned-astronaut and protagonist whose journey anchors the film
    • Anne Hathaway: Selected for the role of Amelia Brand, a scientist aiding Cooper on his quest
    • Jessica Chastain: Brought on board as Murph, Cooper’s daughter, who plays a pivotal role back on Earth
    • Michael Caine: Chosen to portray Professor Brand, the mastermind behind the mission to find humanity a new home

These actors were part of a carefully selected ensemble that aimed to bring authenticity and relatability to a story set against the backdrop of the unknown.

As they delved into character development, the shared goal of the cast and crew was to create a film that balanced epic space exploration with heartfelt storytelling.

Filming Locations

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” embarked on a cinematic journey that spanned numerous real-world locations, each chosen to showcase the film’s stunning variety of landscapes. They provide the background for a story set in space, yet grounded on Earth. It is interesting that it was filmed outside of the United States.

Main Locations

  • Alberta, Canada: The heartland of America in “Interstellar” is actually set in the rural expanses of Alberta. Key locations include:
    • Okotoks and Fort MacLeod: These small towns stood in for the fictional community where the main characters reside
    • Seaman Stadium: An unexpected choice for the film, this baseball field sets an idyllic scene in the early parts of the story
  • Iceland: Known for its otherworldly terrains, Iceland represents multiple extraterrestrial landscapes in the movie. Prominent glaciers featured are:
    • Svínafellsjökull: This glacier epitomizes the icy exteriors of the distant planets that the characters explore
    • Vatnajökull: Europe’s largest glacier, used for its stark beauty and convincing portrayal of an alien environment
    • Eldhraun Lava Field: Its lunar-like ground doubles for scenes set on uninhabited planets

Secondary Locations

  • Los Angeles, California: The bustling metropolis of Los Angeles provides a contrasting backdrop, with notable use of:
    • Westin Bonaventure Hotel: This iconic hotel appears in a brief, yet memorable scene, depicting a futuristic setting

The weaving of these varied locations creates the believable yet fantastic realms that Nolan requires for the epic journey of “Interstellar”. From the moment Matthew McConaughey’s character takes off from the cornfields of Alberta to the icy worlds replicated by Iceland’s glaciers, each place plays a pivotal role in the tapestry of the narrative.

Each site was chosen for its unique ability to transport the audience and characters alike to the remarkable frontiers of space within the confines of our own beautiful planet. With that said, we answered the question where was Interstellar filmed.

Themes and Science Exploration

“Interstellar” is not just a captivating journey across the stars but also a thoughtful exploration into the intricate dance between environmental challenges and the vast unknowns of space.

Environmental and Space

The Earth portrayed in “Interstellar” is a dystopian landscape, ravaged by unprecedented dust storms and a devastating famine that leaves the planet in dire straits. They’re in a rough spot; corn is the last standing crop, and humanity is staring down the barrel of extinction. This gripping setup pulls us into the plight of “Interstellar’s” characters, who bear the heavy mantle of finding a new home in the cosmos for mankind.

“On this dying Earth, NASA is a beacon of hope—a clandestine group making the most of limited resources. They’re the dreamers, the schemers, and the last line of defense against Earth’s inevitable collapse. They orchestrate a bold mission to pierce the heavens, banking their hopes on distant worlds that might harbor conditions for life.

Theoretical Concepts

When they talk about science in “Interstellar,” they mean business. The movie delves into mind-bending concepts like time dilation—the strange occurrence where time moves slower for someone traveling close to a black hole compared to someone far away.

It’s like your clock just can’t keep up; every hour for those near the gargantuan cosmic beast is years passing on Earth.

The astronauts’ odyssey whisks them through a wormhole—a shortcut through spacetime theorized to connect far-flung corners of the universe. This wormhole hovers near Saturn, an iconic ringed planet serving as a gateway to potential new worlds.

They’re chasing hope, a chance to survive, pushing the envelope of known science to its limits.

To anchor the film’s speculative science in realism, the producers consulted with physicists to accurately represent phenomena like black holes and the effects of relativistic travel.

This attention to detail adds a layer of authenticity to the story, providing a sense of realism to the plight as they tread the fine line between science fiction and potential future science fact.

Post-Production and Effects

After Interstellar was filmed, the movie’s post-production phase was pivotal in shaping the final look, involving a seamless blend of visual and special effects. The movie used these techniques to create the immersive cosmos that left critics and audiences alike marveling at its spectacle.

Visual Effects

Hoyte Van Hoytema, the cinematographer, used innovative techniques to achieve a realistic depiction of space.

The visual effects for Interstellar drew inspiration from classic films such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Kubrick’s pioneering work in creating believable space environments was a benchmark that Interstellar aimed to match and build upon.

They relied on practical effects where possible, which involved constructing physical sets and models rather than relying exclusively on computer-generated imagery (CGI).

The result was a rich and convincing portrayal of the vastness of space and the celestial bodies within it.

Special Effects

For the Earthbound scenes of Interstellar, the special effects team employed practical effects, including the creation of real environmental conditions.

They went as far as planting 500 acres of corn which was later used in a dramatic dust storm scene, demonstrating a commitment to physical effects reminiscent of the work seen on productions like Game of Thrones.

The use of practical effects offered a tangible reality to the scenes, allowing the actors to engage more naturally with their surroundings and enhancing the authenticity of the story on screen.

This dedication to practicality over digital effects was praised by critics, who noted its contribution to the film’s immersive experience.

Cultural Impact

When Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar premiered, audiences were taken on an emotionally resonant journey that bridged the vast expanse of space with the intimate connections of family. The film struck a chord with moviegoers through its complex characters like Joseph Cooper and Dr. Amelia Brand, and Murphy ‘Murph’ Cooper, tying human struggles with cosmic adventures.


Interstellar received a warm embrace from both the public and critics.

Its reception was bolstered by the intricate storytelling and the deep emotional currents between the characters, especially those involving Cooper’s daughter, Murph.

They related to the protagonists’ quest, rooting for success and feeling the heavy weight of despair in setbacks.

Nolan’s adept handling of human elements within a science-fiction setting, often compared with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, invited viewers to both question and marvel at the universe’s mysteries.

Aspect Audience Response
Story Emotionally compelling and thought-provoking
Characters Deeply relatable and well-developed
Themes Resonated with existential and familial concerns


The impact of Interstellar extended beyond its initial release, cementing its place in the cultural zeitgeist.

Filmmakers and storytellers saw it as a benchmark for marrying complex scientific ideas, like those inspired by Carl Sagan’s work on Contact, with engrossing narratives.

Educational conversations around astrophysics and space exploration were sparked because of the film’s approach to these subjects through characters like Professor John Brand.

Its depiction of otherworldly landscapes and groundbreaking visual effects inspired a new generation of creatives to dream bigger and with more scientific acumen.

  • Visual Storytelling: Raised the bar for sci-fi visuals and accuracy
  • Narrative Influence: Encouraged a blend of hard science with human drama
  • Educational Impact: Brought complex astrophysical concepts to the forefront of popular conversations

It’s in the tender portrayal of relationships and the grand depiction of space that Interstellar leaves its indelible mark, demonstrating that tales of the cosmos can also be profoundly human.

Written by Alexander