Christopher Nolan Spills ‘Tenet’ Facts: It Is So NOT A Time-Travel Film

John David Washington was finalized as the protagonist way back in 2015!

The biggest mystery of Hollywood, Christopher Nolan’s latest, the most ambitious project to date, Tenet, is all set to release on 31st July and except for a vague excerpt we know…well, squat. No one is better than Nolan at cooking up the most entrancing yet mind-boggling concepts while keeping them under a tarp so tight that even the FBI won’t find a clue. But he is finally dropping deets like how Tenet ain’t a time-travel film it is touted to be, John David Washington had no idea that he was finalized way back in 2015, and Robert Pattinson did his own “terrifying” stunts!

  • Actor John David Washington was chosen by Christopher Nolan as Tenet’s protagonist way back in 2015!

Tenet has been in the works for “about six or seven years” and Nolan first noticed Washington as he watched the HBO sports comedy, Ballers, released in 2015, wherein the actor played the character of NFL player Ricky Jerret. His inclination to cast Washington in Tenet was further solidified when Spike Lee invited the director to the BlacKkKlansman premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. 

“John David was the very charismatic lead in that great movie,” shared Nolan. “That felt like destiny at that point. He’s a true star.”

  • Tenet is anything but a time-travel film

“This film is not a time-travel film,” explained Nolan. “It deals with time and the different ways in which time can function. Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.” 

So, not going back in time, but manipulating time via small “inversions” like “shooting” bullets back into a gun. 

  • Washington to be an “emotional” operative and Pattinson to play a “slightly rascally character”

Shedding more light on the characters the two actors will play, Nolan shared that John David Washington will be “playing an operative” who has “very warm emotional accessibility” and is known as the “Protagonist”, who gets inducted into the organization, “Tenet”. 

On the other, Nolan wasn’t much forthcoming on the character Pattinson will play. 

“We think he may be called Neil,” shared Nolan, adding that he is a “slightly rascally character who operates within what they refer to as this twilight world of operatives in different secret services.”

  • Turns out Pattinson did some pretty “terrifying” stunts all by himself!

Christopher Nolan is a big fan of originality. So, when it came to the stunts in Tenet, he had Robert Pattinson do them himself, even an elaborate car-chase sequence after just a “day’s training for the stunt driving.” 

“I remember doing one sequence where me and John David are in a BMW with an IMAX camera rigged on the hood, which means you can’t see anything through the windscreen, basically. And also, if you turn even slightly too much to the left or right, the rig hits the road, which is kind of terrifying. John David’s turning to me and saying, ‘Are you, like, a stunt driver or something? Have you rehearsed this?’” shared Pattinson.  

While Pattinson doesn’t take credit, Nolan found him to be “typically cheeky and self-deprecating” and remarked that his stunt team “found him to be an excellent driver more than capable of safely performing the required shots”.

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