Jonathan Nolan

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Jonathan Nolan
Jonathan Nolan by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nolan at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1976-06-06) 6 June 1976 (age 43)
London, England
Other namesJonah Nolan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Alma materGeorgetown University
OccupationWriter, producer, director
Years active1997–present
Spouse(s)Lisa Joy
RelativesChristopher Nolan (brother)
Emma Thomas (sister-in-law)
John Nolan (uncle)

Jonathan Nolan (born 6 June 1976)[1] is a British-American screenwriter, television producer, director and author. He is the creator of the CBS science fiction series Person of Interest (2011–2016) and co-creator of the HBO science fiction western series Westworld (2016–present).

Nolan has collaborated on several films with his brother, director Christopher Nolan, who adapted Jonathan's short story "Memento Mori" into the neo-noir thriller film Memento (2000). Together, the siblings co-wrote the mystery thriller film The Prestige (2006), the superhero films The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and the science fiction film Interstellar (2014).

Nolan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Memento, and for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Westworld, among a number of other awards.

Early life[edit]

Nolan was born the youngest of three boys to Christina Nolan. Raised in both London and Chicago, Christina and her boys alternated between the two cities as the boys were growing. Nolan attended Georgetown University, where he majored in English and was a staff writer for The Hoya.[2]


Nolan at the Paley Center for Media in 2012
Nolan (middle) with Evan Rachel Wood (left) and Lisa Joy (right) at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con promoting Westworld

Nolan's short story "Memento Mori" was used by his older brother, director Christopher Nolan, as the basis for the film Memento.[3] Although Jonathan received a "based on a story by" credit, not a screenwriting credit, the brothers shared a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as the film was released before the story was published.[4]

In 2005, Jonathan and Christopher co-wrote the screenplay for The Prestige, which is based on Christopher Priest's novel of the same title.[5] The brothers collaborated on the screenplay for the 2008 film The Dark Knight. The film went on to become the most financially successful Batman film, which has since been surpassed by its sequel, The Dark Knight Rises.[6]

On 10 February 2011, CBS picked up Nolan's pilot Person of Interest. The show was officially picked up by CBS on 13 May 2011 to air in fall 2011. The series ran for five seasons and starred Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. Nolan served as executive producer along with J. J. Abrams.[3]

Nolan wrote the screenplay for Interstellar, a science-fiction feature based on the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who served as the film's executive producer.[7] Christopher Nolan co-wrote, directed and produced the film, with Paramount distributing domestically, while Warner Bros. distributed internationally.[8][9][10]

Nolan and Lisa Joy wrote a pilot for an adaptation of Westworld, Michael Crichton's 1973 science fiction Western thriller of the same name. On August 31, 2013, it was announced that HBO had ordered a pilot for a show, with Nolan, Joy, Weintraub, J. J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk as executive producers, and Nolan making his directorial debut.[11] The pilot was subsequently picked up to series, with Nolan and Joy as co-showrunners, and premiered on October 2, 2016. In November 2016, HBO renewed the show for a 10-episode second season, that started in April 2018.[12][13] On May 1, 2018, following the first two episodes of Season 2, the series was renewed for a third season.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Nolan found that having an English accent was very unpopular after moving to Chicago, so he learned to "sound like a good Chicago kid."[5]

When contemplating the artistic differences between himself and his brother, Nolan remarked: "I've always suspected that it has something to do with the fact that he's left-handed and I'm right-handed, because he is somehow able to look at my ideas and flip them around in a way that's just a bit more twisted and interesting. It's great to be able to work with him that way."[15]

Nolan is married to Burn Notice writer and Westworld co-creator and executive producer Lisa Joy.[16][17][18] They have a daughter[19] and a son together.[20]



Year Title Credit Notes Ref.
2000 Memento Based on his short story "Memento Mori" Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with Christopher Nolan
2005 Batman Begins Uncredited writer [21]
2006 The Prestige Screenplay With Christopher Nolan, based on the novel by Christopher Priest
2008 The Dark Knight Screenplay With Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
2009 Terminator Salvation Uncredited writer [22][23]
2012 The Dark Knight Rises Screenplay With Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
2014 Interstellar Written by With Christopher Nolan [24]
TBA Reminiscence Producer


Year Title Credited as Notes Ref.
Writer Director Executive producer
2011–2016 Person of Interest Yes Yes Yes Creator; writer (9 episodes), director (1 episode) [25]
2016–present Westworld Yes Yes Yes Co-creator; writer (9 episodes), director (2 episodes) [26]


Short fiction


  1. ^ Flans, Lindsay (6 June 2013). "FilmDistrict's Kimberly Smith Weds, Producer-Director Neil Mandt Engaged: Hitched, Hatched, Hired". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. ^ McGrath, Amanda (17 May 2002). "Class of 2002 Gathers For Senior Convocation". The Hoya. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b White, James (10 September 2010). "Jonah Nolan Pitching TV Crime Thriller". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  4. ^ Taylor, Judd (16 February 2002). "The Memento Screenplay Category Controversy: Memento is an Adapted Screenplay". Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Sheila. "Jonathan Nolan Interview, The Prestige". Movies Online. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Christopher Nolan: The Movies. The Memories". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  7. ^ Masters, Kim; Kit, Borys (9 January 2013). "Christopher Nolan in Talks to Direct 'Interstellar' for Paramount and Warner Bros. (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  8. ^ Sperling, Nicole (8 March 2013). "Christopher Nolan's time-travel film 'Interstellar' to bow in 2014". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. ^ Finke, Nikki (8 March 2013). "Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' To Be Paramount-Warner Bros Co-Production And Joint Distribution". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  10. ^ Hayden, Erik (8 March 2013). "It's Official: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' to be Warner Bros., Paramount Co-Production". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  11. ^ Gelman, Vlada (31 August 2013). "HBO Greenlights Sci-Fi Pilot Westworld From J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan". TVLine. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. ^ Porter, Rick (24 April 2018). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Westworld' Season 2 opens on par with series debut". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (14 November 2016). "'Westworld', 'Divorce' & 'Insecure' Renewed For Season 2 By HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  14. ^ "'Westworld' Renewed For Season 3 By HBO". Deadline Hollywood. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  15. ^ ADMIN (30 June 2010). "Theatre of the Mind: A Christopher Nolan Profile (Part 1)". Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  16. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (14 July 2011). "Comic-Con 2011: 'Person of Interest' EPs Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman on Stormtroopers and Spandex (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  17. ^ "On The Rise 2014: 13 Screenwriters To Watch". Indie Wire. 19 August 2014. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ Bissell, Tom (15 December 2016). "On the Ranch with the Creators of "Westworld"". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. ^ King, Larry (15 April 2014). "What Does A Showrunner Bring To A Deserted Island?". YouTube. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Is 'Westworld' HBO's Next Big Hit?". New York Times. 29 September 2016.
  21. ^ "'Westworld' Creators Explore The 'Dark Thrills' Of The Digital Age".
  22. ^ Sciretta, Peter (28 April 2009). "Confirmed: Jonathan Nolan Not Credited For Terminator Salvation". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  23. ^ Sancton, Julian (27 May 2009). "Did Christian Bale's Seriousness Ruin Terminator Salvation?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Interstellar poster billing block". Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (10 February 2011). "CBS Picks Up Jonah Nolan/J.J. Abrams Pilot 'Person Of Interest'". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  26. ^ Gelman, Vlada (31 August 2013). "HBO Greenlights Sci-Fi Pilot Westworld From J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan". TVLine. Retrieved 3 September 2014.

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