The hush-hush atmosphere of any Christopher Nolan set means the director knows a thing or two about keeping a secret. As revealed in a new feature on “Tenet” in The Irish Times, star Robert Pattinson said he tried to sneak away from the set, blaming a “family emergency,” for a screen test for Matt Reeves’ “The Batman.” But Nolan, evidently, knew what he was up to immediately.
“It’s funny because Chris is so secretive about everything to do with his movies,” Pattinson, who was cast in “The Batman” at the end of May in 2019 when “Tenet” began filming, told The Irish Times. “And then I had to be really secretive about ‘Batman’ stuff. So I had to lie to Chris about having to go for a screen test — I said I had a family emergency. And as soon as I said ‘it’s a family emergency’ he said: ‘You’re doing the Batman audition, aren’t you?’”
At the end of 2019, Pattinson was on a narrow shortlist to replace Ben Affleck as the new Caped Crusader, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, and Nicholas Hoult also reportedly in the mix. Though Pattinson’s casting was announced on May 31, it had apparently leaked two weeks earlier which Pattinson said, in an interview last year, made him “fucking furious.”
In The Irish Times piece, Pattinson said that the intense regime for suiting up to play Batman was helpful for his work on “Tenet” opposite former football player John David Washington.
“When I’m running on screen I’m generally paired with John David who is an ex-NFL player so it was the most unfair thing in the world,” Pattinson said. “The maximum workout I do most of the time is a casual stroll. John David can run all day long. It was good that I ended up being pretty fit. But definitely, at the beginning, there were days I just could not walk afterwards.”
Pattinson also spoke about the nerve-wracking set pieces demanded by “Tenet,” including the film’s harrowing car-chase sequences.
“There was a scene where we went about five miles of a freeway in Estonia with hundreds of cars,” Pattinson said. “So John David gets in the passenger seat and Chris is like just follow the camera car. Take it easy the first time. John David turns to me and said: ‘Are you like a really good driver or something. So I’m s***ting myself as I’m whipping between cars at 80 miles an hour and Chris is behaving like this is completely normal.”
Already delayed three times since the pandemic, “Tenet” is set to start rolling out internationally on August 26, followed by whatever theaters it can in the United States on September 3. Production on “The Batman,” meanwhile was halted in the U.K. back in March, but is expected to resume this September. As of now, Warner Bros., which also releases “Tenet,” has dated the superhero tentpole for October 1, 2021.