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Kenneth Branagh Says ‘Tenet’ Reinvents the Wheel, Compares Script to Crossword Puzzle

Branagh read the "Tenet" screenplay more than any other script in his nearly 40-year career.

Kenneth Branagh, 'Tenet'

Kenneth Branagh in “Tenet”

Warner Bros.

Kenneth Branagh has already overcome the challenge of adapting William Shakespeare to the big screen in films such as “Hamlet” and “Much Ado About Nothing,” but it turns out The Bard is no match for Christopher Nolan. In a recent interview with Total Film (via /Film), Branagh said that Nolan’s “Tenet” screenplay was so dense and complicated that he had to re-read it more than any other script he’s ever worked on. That’s quite a statement considering Branagh been a working actor for nearly 40 years.

“I kid you not, I read this screenplay more times than I have ever read any other thing I have ever worked on,” Branagh said. “It was like doing the Times crossword puzzle every day, I would imagine. Except the film and the screenplay didn’t expect you, or need you, to be an expert.”

The “Tenet” official trailer teased Branagh as the film’s antagonist, although he warns Nolan fans that nothing is what it seems while you’re watching the director’s new movie. As Branagh explained, “Given the nature of it, as Chris to some extent sort of reinvents the wheel here, a lot of people start engaging with John David Washington’s character in both expected ways … so you might expect me to be an antagonist, but then [the story] doesn’t quite follow what you might expect as the story plays out.”

“Tenet” marks the second collaboration between Branagh and Nolan after their work together on the director’s last theatrical release, “Dunkirk.” Branagh starred as Commander Bolton in Nolan’s WWII survival thriller, which earned the filmmaker his first Oscar nomination for Best Director.

The upcoming “Tenet” release is set for July and will follow Branagh’s new directorial effort, “Artemis Fowl,” a family adventure film based on Eoin Colfer’s 2001 novel that’s being released June 12 on Disney+. Branagh also has the directorial effort “Death on the Nile” scheduled for October 9, 2020 via 20th Century and Disney. The film is a sequel to “Murder on the Orient Express” and finds Branagh also reprising the role of detective Hercule Poirot.

Warner Bros. still has “Tenet” on the release calendar for July 17, where it will be the first major Hollywood tentpole to open in theaters since March.

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