What's Really Going On With Tenet’s Christopher Nolan And His Chair Ban On Movie Sets

Christopher Nolan on the set of Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio

Christopher Nolan has been making headlines quite a bit as of late, which is mostly due to the public continued interest in his latest film, Tenet, which is slated to be the first major film to welcome audiences back to movie theaters. However, the acclaimed director also caught the public’s attention when collaborator Anne Hathaway mentioned his dislike for chairs on his sets. Now, Christopher Nolan’s team has responded to this notion and is attempting to set the record straight.

Christopher Nolan’s spokesperson, Kelly Bush Novak, released a statement in which she stated that cellphones are the only objects the filmmaker doesn’t allow on set. She also clarified that Nolan doesn’t ban all chairs, just a particular type:

For the record, the only things banned from [Christopher Nolan’s] sets are cell phones (not always successfully) and smoking (very successfully). The chairs Anne was referring to are the directors chairs clustered around the video monitor, allocated on the basis of hierarchy not physical need. Chris chooses not to use his but has never banned chairs from the set. Cast and crew can sit wherever and whenever they need and frequently do.

The statement, which was shared exclusively with IndieWire, does help to clear things up. In the time since Anne Hathaway mentioned this, the alleged policy drew backlash from a few notable film critics. This also led several acting extras from Christopher Nolan’s films to come to his defense and stress that they were never barred from using chairs while working.

Although it seems Christopher Nolan has no problem with chairs on his film sets, he definitely is on of the most unique directors working in the industry today. Not only is he an ardent supporter of the theater experience, but his movies also highlight complex topics that leave audiences both amazed and sometimes confused.

This is especially true when it comes to Tenet, in which the director will highlight the concept of time inversion. Tackling such a tricky topic led to some pretty interesting exchanges with his cast while shooting. Tenet lead John David Washington admitted to being confused by the plot at times, though Nolan was always willing to clear things up for him. Even Robert Pattinson revealed that he was once wrong about a particular aspect of his character.

All in all, despite the fact that Christopher Nolan has certain rules while working on set and covers ground that may go over some people’s heads, the director appears to have great rapport with his collaborators. Even when Anne Hathaway claimed he didn’t allow chairs, she still mentioned it playfully and believed that his logic for doing so was right.

It’s good to see that this policy wasn’t totally accurate, but it’s more than likely that Christopher Nolan would deliver a quality product, either way. And this will likely continue when Tenet arrives in theaters on August 12.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.