Why Christopher Nolan Told Tenet’s Editor It Would Be ‘The Hardest Movie’ Anyone’s Ever Cut

Robert Pattinson and John David Washington in Tenet

A Christopher Nolan movie is always highly anticipated, but the new film Tenet is that much more in demand right now because it keeps getting pushed back. The trailers have done their job of getting people excited about the movie. The visuals are impressive and they have created all sorts of interesting questions. We've been told that time travel isn't part of the new movie, but the story is clearly playing with time in interesting ways. We see moments where time seems to move forward and backward at the same time. Clearly, this was a complex movie to put together, and Christopher Nolan even told his new editor that she might have the hardest job of any editor ever.

Tenet is the first time that editor Jennifer Lame has worked with director Christopher Nolan. The director and the editor clearly worked well together, but it was also something of a trial by fire. Nolan tells ICG Magazine (via Indiewire) that he warned Lame early on that the visuals of Tenet were going to require something special. According to Nolan...

Working for the first time with editor Jen Lame was a real pleasure. I joked with her when she first came on that this might be the hardest movie any editor has ever had to cut — and I’m not sure she would dispute that right now [laughs]. Working out all the aspects of portraying time running in different directions meant going beyond what was down on the page, as the execution lay with a successful translation of the visual.

Jennifer Lame is best known for editing the works of Noah Baumbach, which makes the jump to a Christopher Nolan tentpole project that much bigger of a transition. Nolan said that for him, finding the right editor wasn't a case of finding somebody who had necessarily edited a similar movie, but rather finding somebody who had good judgment in making edits and finding that they had a similar creative language. Nolan says he and Lame had that.

Having said that, Jennifer Lame admits that she was somewhat intimidated when it came to editing the action of Tenet, due to her experience in character dramas. She found that by focusing not on the action itself, but on the story the action needed to tell, she was able to get over her apprehension. Lame explains...

The films I have worked on up until this have been more character-driven, so I enjoyed getting more intimate scenes to cut. I found myself spending more time on the quieter moments and perhaps slightly intimidated by the action. To get over that, I began to think of action as also driving the story forward, explaining, and fleshing out the character’s journey. When Chris saw I was intimidated by the action sequences, he reiterated this point; the story was always the driving force.

Of course, now, the rest of just need to see what the story of Tenet even is. At this point, the film is set to open in early September, though the release has been delayed so many times already we can't be sure it will actually happen this time. While other films, even Disney's Mulan, have made the shift to streaming, it has reiterated several times that won't happen with Tenet. This one will open in theaters, eventually.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.