Tenet Movie Poster

Trivia for Tenet

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  • Director Christopher Nolan's eleventh feature film, and his sixth to be shot and released in 70mm IMAX.
  • This is the first Christopher Nolan film since Batman Begins (2005) not to be edited by Lee Smith, who was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with war film 1917 (2019). Nolan hired Jennifer Lame to replace him. Lame is best known for her work on smaller films such as Manchester by the Sea (2016) and Hereditary (2018).
  • This is the second time Robert Pattinson and Clémence Poésy have worked together. They previously acted opposite each other in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), the fourth installment in the Harry Potter film series. By coincidence, Kenneth Branagh also acted in a Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the second installment in the Harry Potter film series.
  • First Christopher Nolan film since The Prestige (2006) not to be scored by Hans Zimmer. Zimmer turned Nolan down for the first time in over a decade due to scheduling conflicts with scoring his longtime passion project Dune (2020). He was replaced by newcomer Ludwig Göransson, who had recently won an Oscar for his work on Black Panther (2018). Zimmer is friends with Göransson and had suggested him to Nolan.
  • Kenneth Branagh's second time working with Christopher Nolan after Dunkirk (2017).
  • The eighth film directed by Christopher Nolan to feature Michael Caine, including a voice cameo in Dunkirk (2017).
  • Indian actress Dimple Kapadia's first Hollywood role.
  • Kenneth Branagh directed John David Washington's father, Denzel Washington, in Much Ado About Nothing (1993). He also directed co-star Michael Caine in Sleuth (2007).
  • Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy previously worked together on Last Love (2013).
  • The film's title is a palindrome: a word that reads the same backwards as forwards.
  • A 40-second long surprise teaser trailer was shown in select US cinemas before IMAX screenings of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) starting on August 1, 2019. The teaser was later attached to Joker (2019) in October. Filming had begun in May and would not wrap until November 2019.
  • The working title for the film was "Merry Go Round."
  • There was much secrecy surrounding the project before its release. Robert Pattinson told USA Today that he was only allowed to read the script once, in a locked room at Warner Bros. studios. His co-star Michael Caine wasn't even allowed to read the entire script; he was only given his scenes to read before shooting. Prior to the film's release, Caine told press that he had no idea what the movie was about, despite being a close friend and a frequent collaborator of director Christopher Nolan.
  • Martin Donovan's second collaboration with Christopher Nolan. They previously worked together on Insomnia (2002).
  • Third Christopher Nolan film to be shot by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, after Interstellar (2014) and Dunkirk (2017).
  • Robert Pattinson stated that he took inspiration for his character's accent, intonation, and mannerisms from English-American author and journalist Christopher Hitchens. Pattinson never uses his real London accent when playing British characters, saying: "For whatever reason, it feels fake to me when I'm using my own accent for a role - if I just play myself on screen, I feel like a fraud."
  • Robert Pattinson received the news that he'd been cast as Bruce Wayne in The Batman (2021) on his first day on set shooting this movie. Christopher Nolan previously directed three Batman films: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). All three films starred Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.
  • Had a production budget of $205 million, making it director Christopher Nolan's most expensive original film and one of the most expensive original films in history, upon its release. The film was not based on any previously existing material.
  • The second trailer premiered on the video game Fortnite on May 21, 2020 before being made available elsewhere the same night, as cinemas around the world were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The production team purchased and then crashed a real 747 airplane into a hangar. The stunt was all practical effects, with no visual effects or CGI. Director Christopher Nolan had originally planned to use miniatures and set-piece builds, however, while scouting for locations in Victorville, California, the team discovered a massive array of old planes and it became apparent that it would actually be more efficient to buy a real plane of the real size, and perform the sequence for real in camera.
  • One of director Christopher Nolan's filmmaking traditions is to gather his cast and crew together before production begins and screen movies that served as inspiration to the project they're working on together. For this film, however, Nolan intentionally broke his longstanding tradition and didn't host any screenings. He wanted the cast and crew to work from a feeling and memory of the spy genre (including the James Bond films), as opposed to trying to recreate them.
  • Director Christopher Nolan is a huge fan of the James Bond movies, and that love of the spy genre flows through Tenet (2020). That being said, Nolan tried his best not to watch any movies that may overtly influence him while working on Tenet - this was the longest period of time the director had ever gone in his life without watching a Bond film. This is because he wanted to work from a memory and a feeling of that genre; he wasn't trying to do his own version of a James Bond movie, but was instead attempting to create the excitement that many people felt watching the Bond films when they were kids.
  • Director Christopher Nolan offered John David Washington the lead role in Tenet (2020) after seeing him in the HBO series Ballers (2015) and attending the world premiere of BlacKkKlansman (2018), in which Washington stars, at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Director Christopher Nolan offered Robert Pattinson a role in Tenet (2020) after seeing his performances in Good Time (2017) and The Lost City of Z (2016).
  • Principal photography took place across seven countries: Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Filming began in May 2019 in the United States and lasted for almost six months, wrapping in mid-November.
  • There are images and things in the film that director Christopher Nolan had been thinking about for at least 20 years before actually making the movie; he worked on the specifics of the film for about six years.
  • Actor Kenneth Branagh revealed that he read the screenplay for the film more times than anything he had ever worked on. He compared navigating through the script to doing the 'Times' crossword puzzle every single day.
  • Although many film productions were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Christopher Nolan was able to complete post-production in more or less the same way he normally would. A rough cut of the film was finished before the lockdown came into place, and further editing was completed in Nolan's edit suit in his Los Angeles home, where he's worked on his films since The Dark Knight (2008). It also helped that, though based in California, Nolan has used visual effects house Double Negative London for years and therefore is used to corresponding remotely.
  • After being offered the lead role in the film, John David Washington read the screenplay in director Christopher Nolan's locked office at Warner Bros. studios. It took him around five hours to finish reading it because he kept flipping back and forth "in pure amazement."
  • Though John David Washington is more athletic than your average actor - he once held his college's single-season rushing record and even took a shot at the NFL - filming was so relentless that he couldn't run for a month after shooting some of the action scenes. He said: "There were some times I couldn't get up out of bed."
  • With an estimated production budget of $205 million, this is the most expensive film ever made to have a person of color as the solo lead.
  • The film was originally slated to be released on 17 July 2020. However, due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic the film was postponed several times, first to 31 July and later to 12 August 2020.
  • Kenneth Branagh revealed that naysayers insisted Christopher Nolan wouldn't be able to finish Tenet (2020) due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, the director persisted with post-production by reducing the mixing room's team of technicians from eleven down to five, and by wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
  • Composer Ludwig Göransson was about to begin orchestral sessions for the film's score when the United States shut down to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, the soundtrack was completed by putting together individual recordings of the musicians in their homes.
  • Actor Robert Pattinson originally thought that he wouldn't have to do any stunt driving for the film, as he only did one day of training. However, he ended up doing tons and tons of driving, including for the elaborate car-chase sequence filmed in Estonia.
  • After the script was complete, the first call director Christopher Nolan and producer Emma Thomas made was to casting director John Papsidera, with whom they have worked since Nolan's second feature film, Memento (2000). They met and began trading ideas, creating a long list of potential candidates. Specifically, they began "playing with leading men, and using them in different ways." The intent was to cast major actors in smaller roles around The Protagonist - actors who would normally be expected to play the lead.
  • First large-scale film since Stalker (1979) to be shot in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • When casting for the female lead, director Christopher Nolan nearly passed on Elizabeth Debicki because he thought that she was an American. He was looking for a very British characterization, and after seeing her in Widows (2018) he was convinced that she was from the States. So when his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas suggested the actress, she had to inform him that she wasn't American.
  • After his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas suggested Elizabeth Debicki for the female lead, director Christopher Nolan went back and rewatched her work in The Great Gatsby (2013), The Night Manager (2016), and Widows (2018).
  • Elizabeth Debicki insisted on auditioning for her role, despite director Christopher Nolan offering her the part without one. It was important to her to know that she could do what he was looking for, and according to the director she came in and blew everyone away.
  • The initial meeting between director Christopher Nolan and Robert Pattinson lasted three hours. Pattinson explained that by the end of the meeting he had a massive blood sugar drop because they had been talking so much and he had been concentrating so hard. He asked Nolan for a chocolate that was on the table in front of them, and then the director immediately ended the meeting. Pattinson thought that he had ruined his opportunity to have a part in the film.
  • Robert Pattinson revealed that he did much of the stunt driving for the film, including one particular sequence where he and John David Washington were in a BMW with an IMAX camera rigged to the hood. This meant that he could scarcely see anything through the windscreen and a slight turn left or right would result in the rig hitting the road.
  • Custom equipment and lenses were made for the film, that allowed IMAX cameras to be used more heavily. For instance, a custom camera head was built for the film, that would fit within a car and let an IMAX camera be turned around 360 degrees. Lenses were also constructed that would allow the filmmakers to shoot in lower-light situations, something that is traditionally limited when shooting with IMAX cameras.

Spoilers

  • A six-minute prologue was shown at select IMAX theaters before IMAX screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It included a nearly complete scene of a terrorist attack on a performance at a Ukrainian symphony hall, a Ukrainian SWAT team's response, and a small group of American operatives who enter the building on a mission of their own. Beginning with The Dark Knight (2008), all of Christopher Nolan's films have released a prologue or extended footage in IMAX months before their theatrical openings. Aside from Interstellar (2014), all of these IMAX prologues debuted in front of December studio tentpoles like Star Wars.
  • In the Tenet (2020) prologue, John David Washington's character says the code phrase: 'We live in a twilight world.' It is a humorous coincidence that Tenet (2020) actor Robert Pattinson is known for his iconic role in Twilight (2008).
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