Christopher Nolan’s New Film Gets a Title and New Cast Members But What Is It About?

Credit: Tony Barson/FilmMagic

Christopher Nolan is no stranger to secrecy. His 2017 film Dunkirk, which landed him his first and well deserved Best Director nomination, was shrouded in secrecy. In fact, the first trailer of Dunkirk revealed very little of the film’s plot or its structure before the film released. In an ‘instant gratification’ society such as ours, it’s hard to imagine waiting for anything regarding movies.

Nolan is one of the few directors who keeps all of his films under lock and key until release day, and while that might irk the most rabid fans, there’s no denying the suspense causes speculation, speculation causes excitement, and, well, excitement leads to the hype surrounding the film. One thing’s for certain, Nolan deserves all the hype especially with his new film.

It was revealed this week that Nolan’s new film, to be released on July 17, 2020, is to be called Tenet and it has also been revealed that the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter is  “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.” Tenet will reportedly take place on seven continents and will be filmed all on location.

The film’s cast is a doozy. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine have recently joined the cast. Already announced are Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson, and John David Washington who was in BlacKkKlansman. Washington will serve as the lead.

Other recently announced cast members are veteran Bollywood actress Dimple Kapadia and Harry Potter actress Clémence Poésy. Branagh appeared in Nolan’s last film Dunkirk, and Michael Caine has been a stalwart of Nolan’s films since Batman Begins though he sat out in Dunkirk. The veteran actor only lent his voice to the film and was uncredited.

Pattinson, who’s been an indie movie darling since putting the Twlight saga firmly behind him, spoke to USA Today about Tenet and said, “I’ve been a little wary of doing big movies for years and years, but there’s just something about Chris Nolan’s stuff. He seems like the only director now who can do what is essentially a very personal, independent movie that has [a] huge scale. I read the script and it’s unreal.”

This won’t be the first heist film Nolan’s directed. Inception is a heist film, albeit a “dream” heist film that added sci-fi elements to the traditional trope. It’s no big secret that Nolan wants in on the James Bond franchise someday, but in my humble opinion, Nolan works better when his films don’t have to be quite so rooted in reality. Inception worked because of the dream heist. Dunkirk, while rooted in reality, fiddled with the timeline in its structure and was all the better for it, and Momento also fiddled with time as did The Prestige. 

So, could time be a big part of TenetThe Hollywood Reporter seems to think so and given Nolan’s back catalog, there’s a huge possibility that Tenet won’t just be a heist film ala the James Bond franchise, but it will be something that spawns from that genre and decides to bend it to give the audience “something they haven’t seen before.” There is also the possibility that Nolan will deal directly with the space-time continuum and how time can change and how characters react to that. Or it could echo Nolan’s film Interstellar in that you can’t change the past.

Tenet will be filmed with both 70 mm film and Imax film so it will translate easier to Imax screens when it’s released. It sounds like the larger aspect will serve the film well, especially with all the globe-trotting that will happen.


Shelby Arnold
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