Imagine If Christopher Nolan Turned Up at Your Door with a New Script — It Happened on ‘Tenet’

Christopher Nolan showed up at Kenneth Branagh's doorstep unannounced to deliver the "Tenet" script.
Warner Bros.

Just how protective was Christopher Nolan with his “Tenet” script during the casting project? Apparently the answer depends on star power. Robert Pattinson said last year that he got “locked in a room to read the script,” but such secrecy and pressure was not bestowed on a thespian like Sir Kenneth Branagh. Nolan and Branagh worked together on “Dunkirk” and there was enough trust between them that Nolan allowed Branagh to keep the “Tenet” script overnight and read it in the comfort of his own home. In fact, Nolan appeared out of the blue on Branagh’s doorstep to deliver the script.

“The door knocked, I opened the door, and standing at the door was an international film director called Chris Nolan,” Branagh recently told Collider. “He had an envelope under his arm and he said, ‘I’ve come to deliver the script to you.’ It doesn’t get more personal than that.”

“And then [I asked], ‘How will we talk about this?’” Branagh continued. “[Nolan said], ’24 hours from now, sir, I will give you a telephone call and we will discuss it.’ It’s as simple as that. He says, “It’d be nice if we maybe kept this to ourselves.’ Nobody signs anything. It’s a handshake and a level of trust.”

Branagh’s experience sounds a bit more relaxed than Pattinson’s locked-in-a-room situation. However, Branagh was far from nonchalant about the “Tenet” script being in his presence. As the director-writer-actor explained, “I don’t ever want to have a script that isn’t locked in my bag. Like on an airplane, if you’re traveling to location and you’re reading it…Frankly, on a Nolan film, you think about that before your passport. It’ll be fine if they don’t let me into Estonia, but if they do let me into Estonia and I don’t have the script for ‘Tenet,’ I’m done. It’s over.”

“Tenet” stars John David Washington and Pattinson as spies who set out on a mission to prevent World War III through the use of time inversion. Branagh is playing the film’s antagonist, although he warned Nolan fans earlier this week that not everything is as it appears in “Tenet.” Warner Bros. still has “Tenet” on the release calendar for a July 17 nationwide opening.

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