Estonia Braces for Huge Christopher Nolan Shoot, ‘Tenet’ Reportedly His Priciest Original Film

The 2020 action epic stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki.
Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' Budget: His Most Expensive Original Film
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Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' Budget: His Most Expensive Original Film
Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' Budget: His Most Expensive Original Film
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One of the earliest rumors that circulated about Christopher Nolan’s 2020 movie “Tenet” referred to the project as a “massive, innovative, action blockbuster,” and that seems to be correct considering the reported budget of the film is in the $225 million range. Nolan is gearing up to shoot part of the project in Estonia and Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) first reported the budget number. Estonian finance minister Martin Helme is eager to provide the film with around $5.6 million in funding through the Film Estonia film fund as production is expected to boost the local economy.

“Estonia stands to win a lot,” Helme told ERR about Nolan coming to film in the country. “On one hand, part of the support paid out will make it back into the state’s coffers as taxes, and on the other there is work and revenue for different sectors, from the film industry right down to the caterers.”

ERR reports the part of the budget portioned for the Estonia film shoot is estimated in the $18.5 million range. Government officials have already announced road closures will be in effect for a 24-hour period on the last day of June due to filming. A majority of the Pärnu Highway will be shut down. ERR says Nolan and lead actors John David Washington and Robert Pattinson have already arrived in the capital of Tallinn ahead of the production start.

Warner Bros. confirmed in May that “Tenet” would be filming in seven countries across the globe. The studio has not revealed any plot specifics about the project. The cast is led by “BlacKkKlansman” breakout Washington, Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki. Supporting characters will be played by the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Clémence Poésy, and Dimple Kapadia.

Nolan is reuniting with his “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk” cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema on “Tenet.” “Dunkirk” earned Hoytema an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematographer, while Nolan competed for Best Director. Nolan has hired Oscar-winning “Black Panther” composer Ludwig Göransson to handle the original score, which marks a break between the director and usual collaborator Hans Zimmer.

With a reported budget above the $200 million mark, “Tenet” stands to be one of Nolan’s most expensive outings to date. Only “The Dark Knight Rises” exceeded the $200 million production budget mark, with Nolan’s other projects like “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar” falling in the $150-$180 million range. “Dunkirk” was made in the mid-to-low $100 million range. Most studios would be hesitant to give such a huge budget to an original title, but Nolan has rightfully earned the good will of Warner Bros. over the last decade by making one critical and commercial hit after the next.

IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment. The studio is distributing “Tenet” in theaters worldwide on July 17, 2020.

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