Tenet’s John David Washington Explains Why He ‘Couldn’t Get Over’ Shooting The Movie’s Opening

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in Tenet
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

In any other summer, audiences would be packed with cinematic options throughout these select months to buy tickets for and enjoy popcorn too. But it’s 2020, and all eyes are on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet to become a major moment in the comeback of the theatrical experience after months without open multiplexes. And it might just be the perfect film, especially considering its massive $200 million scale.

BlacKkKlansman’s John David Washington, who plays the mysterious lead in the espionage epic, recalled being on the set of the action flick. Here’s how he remembers it:

I couldn’t get over the scale of it all, how many background artists we had. Those are not digitally enhanced people, those weren't painted in, they were all there and present. And they were so game, they were so enthusiastic to be in a Chris Nolan film, as I was excited to be in a Chris Nolan film running for my life. It was extremely intense, so many moving pieces. Nolan on set, he just works at such pace and is so well organized. I mean, it was chaos when he yelled 'Action!' but getting it done, it felt very organized.

Christopher Nolan is one of the few “old school” filmmakers left. He always shoots his work on film and despises the use of green screens. As the recent Tenet footage teased, the Inception director crashed an actual 747 plane during the making of the film, among many other practical stunts. Check out the trailer below:

Tenet will follow John David Washington’s character on some kind of mission to stop World War III using something called “time inversion.” It’s an experience made completely with the big screen in mind and Christopher Nolan’s largest project to date. As the writer/director noted to EW:

We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places. We’re crossing a few different genres in a hopefully exciting and fresh way. [Producer] Emma [Thomas] and I have put together a lot of large-scale productions, but this is certainly the biggest in terms of international reach. We shot in seven countries, all over the place, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.

John David Washington said he ”loved every day of it,” even though he was probably a bit confused some of the time. The actor actually had trouble with heights ahead of the production, and filming Tenet helped him get over his vertigo. He worked on the film with Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Caine (of course). In an age where we’ve not only been turning to streaming a lot more, but become accustomed to seeing films taking the digital CGI-heavy approach, heading back to theaters for Tenet is going to be some kind of treat.

Audiences do have to wait a couple more weeks for Tenet, since Warner Bros recently decided to re-release Inception for its 10th anniversary on July 17 and save the new title for July 31. Christopher Nolan reportedly disagreed with the studio’s initial plans to push back the film much further. The director is hoping to contribute to helping struggling theaters make some of their money back after over three months of closures.

Along with Tenet, check out these other movies hitting theaters this July, and keep touching base with us here on CinemaBlend for more updates on the return of the big screen.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.