Star Robert Pattinson previously said every action scene in Tenet feels like the climax of an epic movie

By Ale Russian
May 27, 2020 12:57 PM
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John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in Tenet
Warner Bros. Pictures

Christopher Nolan really blew up a plane for his upcoming film, Tenet.

After the second trailer for the movie featured a scene in which a huge Boeing 747 crashes into a hangar and blows up, the celebrated director revealed in an interview that it was real — and not CGI.

“I planned to do it using miniatures and set-piece builds and a combination of visual effects and all the rest,” Nolan told Total Film Magazine. "However, while scouting for locations in Victorville, California, the team discovered a massive array of old planes. 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.”

“It’s a strange thing to talk about – a kind of impulse buying, I suppose,” Nolan, 49, admitted. “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.”

The scene is teased at the end of the trailer, with the two main characters, played by Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, discussing it.

Pattinson, 34, is also quoted in the interview sharing his disbelief at Nolan actually pulling the stunt off.

“You wouldn’t have thought there was any reality where you would be doing a scene where they just have an actual 747 to blow up!” Pattinson said. “It’s so bold to the point of ridiculousness… I remember, as we were shooting it, I was thinking, ‘How many more times is this even going to be happening in a film at all?’”

It follows Pattinson's previous thoughts in a recent GQ interview where he called filming the movie "insane."

With a crew of 500 people and 250 of them constantly flying around the world hopping from one country to another, where finished sets would wait, Pattinson couldn't believe the scale of the movie.

"In each country there’s, like, an enormous set-piece scene, which is like the climax of a normal movie. In every single country," the actor teased.

Christopher Nolan, Robert Pattinson and John David Washington

Pattinson and Washington star in the movie as two agents trained to stop World War III by "reversing the flow of time," as the second trailer says.

Not much else is known about the plot, although Nolan told Entertainment Weekly in December the movie is "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage."

"We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places," Nolan told EW. "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."

He added, "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."