Christopher Nolan reveals outdoor set built for 'Tenet' was one of the largest of all-time

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Christopher Nolan during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 2018. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)
Christopher Nolan during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 2018. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)

Christopher Nolan has said that one of the “colossal” sets built for his sci-fi blockbuster Tenet was a historically huge construction job.

The 49-year-old filmmaker told EW that a particular landscape of crumbling buildings and rubble in an abandoned metropolis “would certainly rank as one of the largest-scale outdoor builds of all time”.

It has already been revealed that Nolan purchased a real Boeing 747 aeroplane to blow up for one of the movie’s ambitious set pieces, so he’s not afraid of taking big swings.

Read more: Robert Pattinson teases “enormous” set pieces

The set report explains that hundreds of military extras populated the enormous set as an action scene was shot, featuring star Robert Pattinson at the wheel of an armoured vehicle.

Pattinson plays one of the key characters in the film, which is led by BlacKkKlansman star John David Washington and also features Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Nolan lifted the lid slightly on the movie’s secretive world, stating that the film is “dealing in a world of hidden identities”.

Read more: John David Washington surprised by how much Tenet trailer revealed

He also explained a little more about the film’s relationship with time, which has been a key facet of the director’s work throughout his career, including in Memento, Inception and Dunkirk.

“[Tenet] deals with time and the different ways in which time can function,” said Nolan.

“Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.”

Makes perfect sense, right?

John David Washington in the Christopher Nolan sci-fi blockbuster 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
John David Washington in the Christopher Nolan sci-fi blockbuster 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Tenet is being lined up as one of the first major blockbusters to be released into cinemas this summer, as multiplexes begin to re-open after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The movie recently shifted from its 17 July release date to 31 July, a week after the planned release of Disney’s Mulan on 24 July.

It was reported in May that Nolan and studio Warner Bros need 80% of the world’s cinemas to be open in order for the release to be viable.

Read more: How will social distancing work when cinemas re-open?

Several major cinema chains in the UK, including Cineworld, Vue and Odeon, have announced plans to welcome customers back in to their screens from early July.

Special measures will be taken to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, with reduced capacity, hand-washing stations and staggered start times.