Tenet: Christopher Nolan Breaks Down Sequence with Real 747

After saving the Batman franchise with the Dark Knight trilogy, writer and director, Christopher Nolan is tasked to do the impossible once again in salvaging the decimated summer 2020 movie season with Tenet. When it comes to cinematic spectacles, the five-time Oscar nominee fails to disappoint picking up where he left off once he wrapped his commitments with DC. Nolan continues to remind Hollywood he's not slowing down any time soon. He keeps churning cinematic masterpieces, whether if it's his expert use of CG in Interstellar (2014) or the gut-wrenching practical effects and recreation of World War II's devastation in Dunkirk (2017). The writer/director spoke with Total Film to break down one of Tenet's most signature stunts involving a real 747 plane.

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John David Washington in Tenet. Image courtesy of Warner Bros

"I planned to do it using miniatures, and set-piece builds and a combination of visual effects and all the rest," Nolan said. "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." The Tenet scene in question involves crashing the purchased 747 into a hangar. "It's a strange thing to talk about – a kind of impulse buying, I suppose," laughs Nolan. "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."

Actor Robert Pattinson was a little awestruck as the crew filmed the sequence, knowing it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "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!" he 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?'" Tenet also stars John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Fiona Douriff, Clémence Poésy, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, and Himesh Patel. The Warner Bros film comes to theaters on July 17th.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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