Christopher Nolan

"The Dark Knight Rises" World Premiere - Arrivals

Nolan in 2012, photo by

Birth Name: Christopher Edward Nolan

Place of Birth: Westminster, London, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 30 July, 1970

Ethnicity: Danish (maternal grandfather), Irish, Welsh, English, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish

Christopher Nolan is an English and American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Oppenheimer (2023). He has also directed the films Following, Memento, Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, Dunkirk (2017), and Tenet. He also wrote Following, Memento, Inception, Dunkirk, Tenet, and Oppenheimer; and co-wrote The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, and Interstellar. His co-writer on all but Batman Begins was his brother Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan. His films are known for complex storytelling and unconventional narrative structures, film photography in large-format, and the exploration of themes of metaphysics, existentialism, morals, time, memory, personal identity, and epistemology. With his wife, producer Emma Thomas, he founded and runs production company Syncopy, Inc.

Christopher is the son of Christina Lynn, a flight attendant and teacher of English, and Brendan James Nolan, an advertising executive and creative director. His father is British, with partial roots in County Cork, Ireland. His mother is American. Christopher grew up in London, and spent summers in his mother’s native Evanston, Chicago, Illinois. He has both British and American citizenship.

Christopher and Emma Thomas have four children. His uncle is actor John Nolan. His brother Jonathan is also a producer, director, and author; Jonathan is married to screenwriter and producer Lisa Joy.

Christopher’s paternal grandfather was named Francis Thomas Nolan (the son of Edward James Nolan and Bridgid Anne). Francis was shot down over France, in 1944, during World War II. He was part of the Avro Lancasters No 1 Group of RAF in Bomber Command.

Christopher’s paternal grandmother was named Catherine Martha Rees.

Christopher’s maternal grandfather was Anton Oscar Jensen (the son of Anton Jensen and Mary H. Boyschou/Boyschon). Christopher’s grandfather Anton was born in Wisconsin. Christopher’s great-grandfather Anton was born in Hersum, Viborg, Denmark, the son of Jens Andersen and Ane Marie Pedersen Theil. Christopher’s great-grandmother Mary was born in Iowa, to Danish parents, Christian Thompson/Thomsen Boyschou, from Copenhagen, and Marie/Mary Dorthea Lorentsen, from Branderup.

Christopher’s maternal grandmother was Emily Fisher Swan (the daughter of Edward Jess/Jesse “Ted” Swan and Gertrude H./M. “Nellie” Fisher). Emily was born in Illinois. Edward was the son of Charles George Swan, who was English, and of Emily Grace Morgan, who was from North Carolina. Gertrude was the daughter of Asa J. Fisher and Eliza Barker.

Sources: Information about Christopher’s father’s family history –

Genealogy of Christopher Nolan –

Marriage records of Christopher’s paternal grandparents, Francis Thomas Nolan and Catherine Martha Rees –

Christopher’s maternal grandfather, Anton Oscar Jensen, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Christopher’s maternal grandmother, Emily Fisher Swan, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

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