Why Christopher Nolan Actually Blew Up A Real Plane For Tenet

Plane crash in Tenet

While many directors will heavily use CGI to pull off difficult movie scenes, Christopher Nolan has historically shied away from CGI whenever possible. He famously ditched the approach in The Dark Knight when it come to flipping that truck over in the street and decided to limit green screen in Interstellar. All in all, if he can figure out a practicial way to pull it off, he’ll at the very least consider it.

Now, his latest movie, Tenet, is on the way, and the newest trailer that landed gave audiences a taste of his next big cinematic special effects feat in the form of a real 747 plane crashing and blowing up. Christopher Nolan recently opened up about the stunt and why he did. Here’s what he said:

I planned to do it using miniatures and set-piece builds and a combination of visual effects and all the rest. We started to run the numbers... It became apparent that it would actually be more efficient to buy a real plane of the real size, and perform this sequence for real in camera, rather than build miniatures or go the CG route.

Christopher Nolan's comments to Total Film aren't completely shocking, but it is surprising that it was more efficient to blow up a real plane instead of using miniatures. Still, we’ll have to take his word for it. It’s also the type of spectacle that works well with audiences, such as how many moviegoers love when Tom Cruise does his own stunts. In some cases, people want the real thing, something Nolan seems to understand.

Though buying a 747 plane and blowing it up may have been more efficient, Christopher Nolan later seems to insinuate that it may not have been the cheaper option:

It’s a strange thing to talk about – a kind of impulse buying, I suppose,” laughs Nolan. “But we kind of did, and it worked very well, with Scott Fisher, our special-effects supervisor, and Nathan Crowley, the production designer, figuring out how to pull off this big sequence in camera. It was a very exciting thing to be a part of.

While efficiency was the name of the game for this particular stunt, Christopher Nolan has been notorious for creating incredibly confusing and complicated movies for the cast and crew and audiences alike. Nevertheless, he finds a way to make his heady and mind-bending films palatable for large audiences.

For his next trick, Christopher Nolan would like Tenet to be the movie to bring audiences back to theaters. He’s been heavily pushing for theaters to reopen by the for Tenet to hit its July 17 release date. Of course, the final decision isn’t up to Christopher Nolan, and the prospect of theaters opening by that time could be overly optimistic.

While it's not confirmed, there's a firm chance Tenet will could delayed by WB so that it can get the proper theatrical run it deserves. And one way or another, Warner Bros. will see to it that it gets a theatrical run, as Christopher Nolan wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jason Ingolfsland