Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” remains dated for July 17, but don’t expect many pre-release teases from star Robert Pattinson. What role is he playing? What’s the film about? Pattinson offers up no answers in a new profile published by GQ magazine, but that might be because “Tenet” has such huge themes that the actor hasn’t even been able to grasp what everything in the film means just yet. As Pattinson told GQ, “Even if I had seen it, I genuinely don’t know if I’d be able to…I was just thinking, I just called up my assistant 20 minutes ago: ‘What the fuck do I say [about it]? I have no idea…Oh God, no. I can’t even bullshit my way through this.’ ”
What Pattinson did reveal is that “Tenet” had a crew of around 500 people and “250 of them would all fly together, just hopping planes to different countries.” The actor said, “This thing, it’s so insane. And in each country there’s, like, an enormous set-piece scene, which is like the climax of a normal movie. In every single country.”
Nolan has already referred to “Tenet” as the most ambitious movie he’s ever made. The director has kept such a tight lid on the film’s plot that not even actors in the film like Michael Caine were allowed to read the whole script and figure out what the espionage drama is about. The “Tenet” trailer suggests time travel might be a factor in the film’s plot, but Pattinson did say about his character: “He’s not a time traveler. There’s actually no time traveling. That’s, like, the one thing I’m approved to say.” Even if there is no time traveling in “Tenet,” it’s clear something in the film involves a manipulation of time.
“I forgot a lot of things at the beginning of the movie,” Pattinson said. “I was so obsessed with watching Christopher Hitchens debates. You know Christopher Hitchens? A lot of my character stuff, I was trying to do a Chris Hitchens impersonation, and I completely forgot that I was doing that until I saw my notes. I’m so curious. I mean, I literally haven’t seen a frame of this movie.”
Christopher Nolan told GQ that Pattinson is being both honest and dishonest when saying he doesn’t understand “Tenet.” The director maintains his actor has a full grasp of the script, but part of what having a full grasp of the “Tenet” script means is getting lost in the ambiguities it proposes.
“The interesting thing with Rob is, he’s slightly fucking with you,” Nolan said. “But he’s also being disarmingly honest. It’s sort of both things at once. When you see the film, you’ll understand. Rob’s read on the script was extremely acute. But he also understood the ambiguities of the film and the possibilities that spin off in the mind around the story. And so both things are true. Yes, he’s fucking with you, because he had a complete grasp of the script. But a complete grasp of the script, in the case of ‘Tenet,’ is one that understands and acknowledges the need for this film to live on in the audience’s mind, and suggest possibilities in the audience’s mind. And he was very much a partner in crime with that.”
Warner Bros. is opening “Tenet” in theaters July 17. Head over to GQ’s website to read Pattinson’s latest profile in its entirety.