Why Tenet’s Christopher Nolan Doesn’t Use A Cell Phone Or Have An E-mail Address

John David Washington and Elizabeth Debicki in Tenet

As the king of complex movie plots, Christopher Nolan has made a career of challenging film’s status quo from Memento to 2020’s Tenet. The director leans more into using modern technology to keep fans and critics guessing even after the movie is over. Despite his usage of tech, Christopher Nolan might not be a fan personally, as he apparently doesn't even use a cell phone.

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was centered on a special agent played by John David Washington manipulating time with the aid of a machine. Since Inception, the director has used technology to move his plots forward. But he seems to have adverse to using modern technology himself. Nolan recently confirmed a long-standing rumor of not having a smartphone to People Magazine.

Yeah, it is true. It's true that I don't have a smartphone. I have a little flip phone that I take with me from time to time. I'm easily distractible so I don't really want to have access to the internet every time when I'm bored. I do a lot of my best thinking in those kind of in-between moments that people now fill with online activity, so it benefits me. When I'm working, I'm just surrounded by, I mean, everybody's got a phone. I can't hide, so I'm very easy to get in touch with when I'm working.

Pretty wild stuff. In addition to not using a smartphone like the rest of us, Christopher Nolan went on to further explain his relationship to technology. He even mentioned not having an email address for personal or business purposes. In the filmmaker's words,

And email, I just have never been particularly interested in communicating with people in that way. I prefer just calling people from a landline. So yeah, I mean, everybody finds their own way to communicate with people and deal with things.

If you’re a Christopher Nolan fan, it might be surprising to hear his stance on cell phones and emails. It’s still amazing to know that a film genius like Nolan is still stuck in the 20th century. This revelation puts his stance on Warner Bros. announcing its hybrid streaming/theatrical release into perspective.

Tenet was released on Sept. 3, 2020 to a mixed reception from audiences and critics while grossing over $361 million at the global box office. The film was the first tent-pole film to be released during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to it being a box office disappointment. It didn’t break even at the box office after factoring in marketing costs. Many insiders and fans have speculated the film’s poor box office return lead to Warner Bros.’ hybrid decision, starting with Wonder Woman 1984’s Dec. 25 release.

In the meantime, Nolan collaborated with film critic Tom Shone for an in-depth book of his films The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan. The book was released on Nov. 3, 2020 to critical acclaim. And with Tenet also becoming more available to stream, there's plenty of content available from the filmmaker.

You can check out Tenet on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD as well as streaming on Amazon, Apple, YouTube, and Vudu.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).