The upcoming thriller Tenet marks a unique film for writer/director Christopher Nolan in a few ways, one being that he broke a longstanding tradition of his while making the movie. On most of his prior efforts, Nolan would sit his cast and crew down before production began to screen for them a series of films that served as inspiration for their latest effort.
For The Dark Knight they watched Michael Mann’s Heat; for Interstellar he screened The Right Stuff; and for Dunkirk he screened All Quiet on the Western Front and The Battle of Algiers. But for Tenet, Nolan screened not one film.
Interestingly, this is one of the first films I’ve ever made where we didn’t do any screenings. And the reason was, I think we all have the spy genre so in our bones and in our fingertips. I actually wanted to work from a memory and a feeling of that genre, rather than the specifics.
Tenet is Nolan’s spin on the espionage epic that centers around agents played by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson who use time inversion to prevent World War III. Pattinson, in recent interview talked about how Tenet is a near impossible task to explain, but whatever Nolan has up his sleeve, Pattinson says it’s crazy to the point of scary.
“It’s totally in my bones,” Nolan continued about the spy genre. “I don’t need to reference the movies and look at them again. It’s about trying to re-engage with your childhood connection with those movies, with the feeling of what it’s like to go someplace new, someplace fresh. It actually has to take them somewhere they haven’t been before, and that’s why no one’s ever been able, really, to do their own version of James Bond or something. It doesn’t work. And that’s not at all what this is. This is much more my attempt to create the sort of excitement in grand-scale entertainment I felt from those movies as a kid, in my own way.”
Tenet is currently still scheduled to open in theaters on July 17th as the first new release following the COVID-19 shutdown and hopefully remains.