Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan Are Cinema’s Most Successful Couple

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan Are Cinema’s Most Successful Couple

preview for Christopher Nolan Breaks Down ‘Oppenheimer’ With Professor Brian Cox

THERE ARE ONLY a few creative partnerships in the world of movies that really manage to stand the test of time. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay come to mind—but that one fell apart a few years ago. Joel and Ethan Coen are legends—but they’re on something of a hiatus right now as well. At the end of the day, it may be Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas—who got married in 1997 and have worked together on every single film that the former has made since their days together in college—who have the most successful partnership in all of movies.

As Oppenheimer looks ready to make a major splash at the Oscars, it’s worth taking a closer look at the dynamic duo that made it happen. While Nolan may be the more well-known half of the operation, Thomas has been his partner in every sense of the word during their journey to the top. When Cillian Murphy won the BAFTA for Best Actor for Oppenheimer, he called Thomas and Nolan “The most dynamic, decent, kindest producer-director partnership in Hollywood.” Nolan himself has remarked that Thomas is “the best producer in Hollywood, without question.”

It hasn’t all been Batman, space exploration, and nuclear physics for Thomas, either. In addition to working with Nolan, she also assisted director Stephen Frears on the excellent 2000 film High Fidelity and worked on the 1997 Rowan Atkinson Bean movie (among other credits).

Thomas is also just really damn good at her job. A recent Variety piece called her a “dream producer,” noting that “her sets are notoriously harmonious, coming in on time and on budget.” For an industry where we constantly are hearing about all kinds of on-set drama and over-spending, it’s an enormous asset to have someone who knows so expertly how to keep the train on the tracks.

Here’s what else you need to know about Emma Thomas.

Emma Thomas has been Christopher Nolan’s producing partner since college

2002 tribeca film festival

KMazur//Getty Images

Nolan and Thomas first met during their first week as students at University College London. Initially, her career aspirations were to follow her father into a job in civil service, but once Nolan introduced her to their college’s Film Society—where together they watched all sorts of films and even began to produce their own shorts—she was hooked, and knew what she wanted to do.

Thomas and Nolan’s first official project together was a short called Doodlebug, which they made while they were students. From there, the two worked together on Following—Nolan’s debut feature—and Memento, which proved to be the director’s breakout hit and early-career calling card. After Memento, Nolan and Thomas began their own production company called Syncopy, and earned a lot of fans—including Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh. On Soderbergh’s recommendation, Nolan was hired for Insomnia, and it’s been off to the races ever since; after Insomnia, Nolan and Thomas exclusively made movies with Warner Bros. for nearly two decades, until he moved to Universal for Oppenheimer.

Thomas has worked as producer on every single film Nolan has directed, and the pair have also executive produced a few more, including Transcendence (directed by Nolan’s former cinematographer Wally Pfister) and Man of Steel (directed by Zack Snyder).

Nolan and Thomas have been married since 1997


Joe Maher//Getty Images

In addition to their wildly successful creative and professional partnership, Nolan and Thomas also have what seems to be a lovely marriage and family life. They have four kids together. Anyone who’s seen Nolan’s films can tell that family is always a vital theme—from Memento to Interstellar to Tenet, it’s clear that loved ones are a vital driving force in what Nolan and Thomas want to bring to the screen.

Stream Oppenheimer Here

Headshot of Evan Romano

Evan Romano

Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *