The COVID-19 pandemic has become the most important film of 2020 – and whether Christopher Nolan’s new film can succeed in the international box office when it launches on August 26 is likely to be an indication of whether other studio films will see movie releases this year. Now, in a new interview with The Irish Times, many of the film’s stars and its producer have talked about the challenges of filming.
Emma Thomas, who produces Christopher Nolan’s films (and is also his wife), told The Irish Times that Tenet is their most ambitious film to date, although the temptation is always there to go less than bigger. “We have the same conversation with every movie,”
Thomas also says that while previous Nolan films often have one scene that they know will be difficult (quoting the Dark Knight hospital blast), Tenet has several. “With Tenet, I felt like every time we do one of those big things, you relax for five minutes and then you look at the schedule for next week, and then there’s another one,” she said.
Robert Pattinson – who starred in the film and gave some of the best Hollywood interviews of all time – recalls how difficult some of the action scenes were, citing a specific driving sequence they filmed early. “I shake as I walk between cars at 80 miles per hour and Chris behaves in a way that’s perfectly normal,” he says.
Pattinson says he is generally paired with John David Washington, the film’s protagonist, and because the actor is a former NFL player, he is in extremely good shape. “The maximum workout I do most of the time is a casual walk,” Pattinson said. “John David can run all day. It was good that I ended up being quite fit. But there were definitely days in the beginning when I just couldn’t walk after that.”
He also revealed that Washington must explain elements of the plot to him. “Until the last week of filming, I was talking to John David and asking him some pretty basic questions about who my character was. And John David was, ‘Wait, you don’t know that?’ “But it’s complicated! You don’t just feed on history.”
Meanwhile, Kenneth Branagh plays the villain of the film, whom he says is “darker than anything he’s ever played.” According to Brana, Nolan told him to make the character “constantly evil.” He also says that there are two scenes he shot where he is not really sure what is happening – this is the first time this has happened in his career.
Tenet will have a limited US version on September 3 in select markets if all goes according to plan.