If you went to see Interstellar this weekend, chances are you didn’t know much about the movie beyond “Matthew McConaughey in space.” That’s intentional—Christopher Nolan is famously tight-lipped about his films, and the trailers that accompany them are pretty good about leaving large chunks of the plot untouched. This makes Nolan something of a unicorn: an Internet-Age blockbuster director who actively strives to preserve of the filmgoing experience as he can.
But he’s not alone in this, either—which probably makes him less of a unicorn. (Maybe he’s more like a white antelope.) J.J. Abrams, Hollywood’s biggest sci-fi steward, is equally obsessed with keeping details about his films under wraps before they debut. It’s an admirable goal—but one that each director pursues in very different ways. Given that they both specialize in something that’s inherently frustrating—the keeping of secrets—who’s better at it? Less frustrating? Rewarding?
The answer lies with the biggest difference between the two—their relationships with fans.