John David Washington in a still from Tenet.
John David Washington in a still from Tenet.

Christopher Nolan calls Tenet the most ambitious film of his career, explains ‘time inversion’ concept

Director Christopher Nolan explains Tenet’s ‘time inversion’ concept, while star John David Washington talks about getting over his fear of heights while shooting for the film in Mumbai.
Hindustan Times | By HT Entertainment Desk
UPDATED ON JUN 19, 2020 01:52 PM IST

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is holding onto its July 31 theatrical release date, no matter what. In a new spread on Entertainment Weekly, the filmmaker stressed that the ambitious science-fiction thriller deserves to be seen exclusively on the big screen, as it is the most ambitious project of his career.

“This film is not a time-travel film,” said 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.”


The filmmaker added, “We’re dealing in a world of espionage, we’re dealing in a world of hidden identities. John David Washington is playing an operative who is known by the term ‘Protagonist.’ Tenet is the name of the organization into which the Protagonist gets inducted.”

The film also stars Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia and Kenneth Branagh, who plays the villain.

“It’s an espionage piece that’s dealing with a global threat to the world,” Branagh said. “A nuclear holocaust is not the greatest disaster that could befall the human race. Tenet discusses an even worse possibility, and it is wrapped up in this mind-boggling treatment of time that continues Chris Nolan’s preoccupations in films way back to Memento, through Interstellar and Inception.”

Also read: Is Christopher Nolan’s Tenet a secret sequel to Inception? Fan theory offers clues

A major action scene in the film was shot in Mumbai, India. John David Washington said that shooting the Mumbai action scenes got him over his fear of heights. “I loved every day of it,” the actor said. “The only thing that probably was tough for me were the heights at first but I ended up getting over that, in India. And that became a great accomplishment for me, because I’m not too comfortable with heights and I became better acquainted with heights after that experience. And then there’s a scene — you can see it in the trailer — he looks like he’s really been beat up. That was a hard day too. That wasn’t one of the more enjoyable days, I’ll put it like that,” he added.

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