says Branagh, 59 . “A nuclear holocaust is not the greatest disaster that could befall the human race. discusses an even worse possibility, and it is wrapped up in this mind-boggling treatment of time that continues Chris Nolan’s preoccupations in films way back to through and In that preoccupation bloomed into what characters in the film refer to as “inversion,” a way of manipulating time so that characters can, for example, “shoot” bullets back into a gun. (The latter ability is much more useful than you might think, according to the movie’s prologue, which played before select IMAX screenings of this past December.) Inversion is inspired by real-life physics and entropy, a measure of disorder and randomness in thermodynamic systems. “This film is not a time-travel film,” says Nolan. “It with time and the different ways in which time can function. Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.” Hey, we thought you said this wasn’t going to be a physics lesson! It’s less complicated when Nolan describes his principal characters, including Washington’s. “We’re dealing in a world of espionage, we’re dealing in a world of hidden identities,” the director says. “[John David] is playing an operative who is known by the term ‘Protagonist.’ Tenet is the name of the organization into which the Protagonist gets inducted.” Given Nolan’s love for the 007 films, it sounds like Washington’s character may be the closest yet to a black Bond, although the director is quick to point out that the Protagonist is no clone of Ian Fleming’s creation. “He is very much a presence at the heart of the film, but, unlike a Bond, he has a very warm emotional accessibility.” Pattinson, meanwhile, plays someone named Neil— possibly. “We think he may be called Neil,” says Nolan with a laugh. “You never really quite know what’s going on with these identities.” Nolan describes Neil— or whatever he is called—as a “slightly rascally character who operates within what they refer to as this twilight world of operatives in different secret services.” As for Branagh’s villainous Russian oligarch, “He’s a baddie, there’s no question about that,” says the Tenet Memento, Inception.” Interstellar Tenet, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker deals point.” It’s clear Nolan believes the actor has the big-screen presence to follow in the footsteps of his father, Denzel Washington: “He’s a true star,” says the director. Nolan’s ability to keep a lid on the project is doubly remarkable given how long he’s been thinking about it. “I’ve been working on this iteration of the script for about six or seven years,” says the director, calling in May from his house in L.A., where he is overseeing postproduction. Branagh says Nolan did not mention the project to him when they were shooting which is probably just as well given the actor can’t help but enthuse about the film, letting slip something close to a synopsis along the way. “It’s an espionage piece that’s dealing with a global threat to the world,” of Chris Nolan’s mind, which was fascinating.” Washington’s first encounter with Nolan was similar to Pattinson’s: “We talked about everything except the project,” says the actor, 36. “We talked about our love for movies, family, my childhood. It was really a nice meeting, and when I found out I got the part, I read the script.” Nolan says he first noticed Washington while watching him play NFL player Ricky Jerret on (yes, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the director is an unlikely fan of the HBO sports comedy) and then began to consider casting him after Spike Lee invited the director to the premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. “John David was the very charismatic lead in that great movie,” says Nolan. “That felt like destiny at that ↑ Washington and Rich Ceraulo Ko make for an explosive combination in the prologue Tenet ↑ Pattinson’s character “operates in this twilight world of secret services,” says Nolan then Tenet’s Ballers Dunkirk, BlacKkKlansman Murder on the Orient JULY 2020 28 EW ● COM
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