"Tenet" Production Info
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Warner Brothers||Date: 14.08.2020|
All I have for you is a word: Tenet. It will open the right doors; some of the wrong ones, too. Use it carefully.
John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle “Tenet.” Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion.
The international cast of “Tenet” also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Martin Donovan, Fiona Dourif, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Himesh Patel, Clémence Poésy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh. Nolan wrote and directed the film, utilizing a mixture of IMAX® and 70mm film to bring the story to the screen. “Tenet” is produced by Emma Thomas and Nolan. Thomas Hayslip served as executive producer. Nolan’s behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema, production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Jennifer Lame, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, and special effects supervisor Scott Fisher. The score is composed by Ludwig Göransson. “Tenet” was filmed on location across seven countries. Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Syncopy Production, a Film by Christopher Nolan, “Tenet.” Warner Bros. Pictures is distributing “Tenet” in theatres and IMAX worldwide.
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About the production
|"Tenet" in 70mm at the Delphi in Berlin, Germany. Picture by Ingolf Vonau|
You have to start looking at the world in a new way.
Most people see time as an unalterable dynamic of our existence, but in the hands of filmmaker Christopher Nolan, it becomes a compellingly tractable thread, able to be bent, twisted, juxtaposed…or inverted. Nolan, who wrote, directed and produced “Tenet,” says, “The story takes on ideas of time and how we experience it—interacting a science fiction component with the classic elements of the spy genre.”
Nolan reveals that “Tenet” was a concept he had been contemplating for a while, noting, “I think, as a filmmaker, you have a set of ideas—things in the back of the drawer that can take decades to come to fruition. The time has to be right in all kinds of ways. For me it was a combination of wanting to get back to a broader sense of filmmaking, following ‘Dunkirk,’ and taking audiences around the world to more places than we’d ever been. I also felt ready to take on the spy genre, which I’d always intended to do. I grew up loving spy movies; it’s a really fun and exciting branch of fiction. But I didn’t want to do this type of film unless I felt I could bring something fresh to it. The simplest way to explain our approach is to say what we did with ‘Inception’ for the heist genre is what ‘Tenet’ attempts to bring to the spy movie genre.”
Emma Thomas, who partnered with Nolan to produce the global action thriller, remarks, “‘Tenet’ was so challenging, I don’t think we would have been able to pull it off ten years ago, so I feel this story emerged from Chris’s brain at just the right time. This isn’t just the most ambitious film in scope that Chris has made from a production standpoint, but also in the ways he has pushed the narrative beyond the limits of what he’s done in the past. When you look at the movies in the trajectory, it does feel like each of them builds on the last, so this film is definitely a product of the many years of experience we have at this point.”
Nolan is well known for keeping story details close to the vest, preferring audiences to discover the twists and turns of the plot as they are revealed on the big screen. So, in describing the story, he cryptically shares, “‘Tenet’ is an espionage thriller with a Protagonist at its heart, who is inducted into a more-secret-than-secret organization known as Tenet. Often these types of characters are portrayed as being very hard and cynical. Yet, there is a degree of selflessness and self-sacrifice to what they do and what’s expected of them that speaks to a different set of ethics and an accountability and responsibility to their fellow man. John David Washington and I both felt that we had an opportunity here to tap into those attributes more, as a motivation for him doing the most extreme things, all for the greater good.”
Washington, who stars as the character known only as the Protagonist, says that while “at the core of it, ‘Tenet’ is about a man trying to save the world,” the intricately woven plot also explores some of our most firmly held precepts. “The movie challenges our traditional ways of interpreting time, interpreting what we perceive is real, our learned behaviors,” he continues. “There’s a lot more going on. I had never read or seen anything like this before. Nobody has. Chris deals head on with how we understand the physics of time, all through the lens of this character. I don’t know what his fascination with time is, but I love how he deals with it in his movies.”
Thomas observes that, in some way, everyone shares Nolan’s fascination with time. “We’re all a little bit obsessed with time, aren’t we? It’s something that, whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever your life experience is, you know you can’t do anything about it. It rules you. I can’t really speak for Chris, but that’s my perspective on it. It’s interesting because, given the fact that time is universal, it’s also something that you feel very subjectively: you know, kids feel time very differently from adults. I feel like it’s speeding up immeasurably. And then, during this pandemic, our perception of time has been a whole other thing…days have felt like weeks and months have felt like minutes. It’s been very weird.”
Interestingly, it turns out that the notion of inverting time is not outside the realm of possibility for modern physicists, having to do with the law of entropy, which, in the most basic terms, states that all things trend toward disorder. “Every law of physics is symmetrical—it can run forwards or backwards in time and be the same—except for entropy,” Nolan explains. “The theory being that if you could invert the flow of entropy for an object, you could reverse the flow of time for that object, so the story is grounded in credible physics. I did have (physicist) Kip Thorne read the script and he helped me out with some of the concepts, though we’re not going to make any case for this being scientifically accurate. But it is based roughly on actual science.”
Thomas admits that when she first read the script, “I was a bit daunted by the scale, but the premise was so original and intriguing. A few of Chris’s films have been quite tricky to parse just reading it on the page, but then you know it’s all going to make sense when you see it visually.”
In fact, Nolan points out, the visual medium of film is, in very real terms, the only manner in which specific facets of the story could have been accomplished. “The thing about the camera is that it actually sees time. Before the motion picture camera existed, there was no way for people to conceive of things like slow motion or reverse motion. So, cinema itself is the window onto time that allowed this project to come to fruition. It is literally a project that only exists because the movie camera exists.”
Nevertheless, the camera’s singular ability to depict temporal variations would not be enough. The director knew that realizing his vision would require “a ruleset that was not as simple as reversing the camera or things going backwards. There is an interaction between the direction of time and the environment we’re in: how things move around us and even the air we breathe,” he clarifies. “The notion of inversion is an asymmetrical one, so the ruleset was complicated and had to be addressed in more complicated ways. That meant a variety of techniques, from cast and stunt performers being able to perform fight scenes and running and walking in different directions, to vehicles that would drive forwards or backwards in various configurations so that we could, shot to shot, completely change the technique we were using to create the particular visual. Something we’ve learned over the years: if you can have a range of different techniques allowing you to keep changing the trick that you’re using shot to shot, it becomes much harder for the audience to be pulled out of the film. It’s much more immersive.”
|Tenet in Italy|
To amplify that immersive moviegoing experience, Nolan once again relied on IMAX cameras and large-format film. “I’ve been working with the IMAX format for years now,” he says. “It has this extraordinary power in terms of how deeply it can take the audience into the story. With a story as entertaining and fun as this one tries to be, we really felt that we wanted to wrap the movie around the audience and take them on a ride.”
Kenneth Branagh, who plays the malevolent antagonist of the film, Andrei Sator, previously worked with Nolan on “Dunkirk.” He comments, “‘Tenet’ is a hair-raising, high-stakes thriller from an extraordinary filmmaker. I think Chris makes a couple of contracts with the audience. One is to absolutely, positively entertain them; there’s no question about that. But I think the other contract he makes is with their intelligence, their interest, and their passion. This is a man who is about the telling of the story through cinema. I can almost feel in this project a re-affirmation, a declaration, of how exciting it can be to be in a darkened room, with massive images, for a story that that kind of treatment supports and deserves. Along with Emma—that’s a pair of very savvy producers—they know logistically how to make an ambitious movie work.”
“This could not be more of a Chris Nolan movie,” adds castmate Robert Pattinson, whose character, Neil, is teamed with the Protagonist. “There is such a singular vision to every one of his films and making this one was a spectacular feat in every way. It’s pretty amazing…there’s literally nothing comparable.”
The filming of “Tenet” took the filmmakers, cast and crew to the countries of Estonia, Italy, India, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. And Nolan says the global nature of the shoot befit the story. “The international component of ‘Tenet’ is very important because it’s about a threat to the entire world—to existence as a whole—and those stakes are integral to the drama. So, I think having that global feel is crucial to the rhythm of the film and the building of scope and scale.”
|Tenet in Copenhagen|
The settings are essential to the director, who has long preferred to capture the action in-camera—eschewing greenscreen in favor of practical sets and relying more on special effects than visual effects. He notes, “I like blurring the boundaries between the photography of the actors, the situations they’re in, and the more improbable elements of the film, whether it’s an airplane crashing into a building or a sense of time being distorted. If there isn’t this divide between the fantastical and the character base, I believe you get a much more even tone to the film and you can keep the audience more engaged.”
Nolan’s approach also kept the actors more engaged. Elizabeth Debicki, who portrays Sator’s estranged wife, Kat, attests, “It’s such a blessing as an artist when you can actually see what you are about to step into and inhabit. There were moments when I realized how extraordinary it was to be there, and I think it was enormously helpful. How could it not be helpful to feel the impact of something shaking around you or feel the boat rock under you? As much as it is our job to act, that organically feeds the truth of the performance. It’s completely invaluable.”
“I’ve been making films for a long time now, and I am very aware of the medium I work in,” Nolan says. “It’s what inspires me and affects my creative choices in every possible way—as I’m writing the script, as I’m thinking about what it’s going to be, as I’m casting it… Everything is about that larger-than-life experience that we’re intending to give the audience. Every decision is made with the idea of an audience coming together in a movie theatre to watch it on a big screen. That affects every choice we make and everything we do.”
“The production was challenging, there’s no question,” Thomas asserts. “But we were surrounded by the absolute best in the business and we felt great about the huge talents who were helping us communicate the story and bring the characters into being.”
|In casting the main role of the Protagonist, Nolan says, “We needed an actor who could hold the screen. For me, one of the most important moments in conceiving ‘Tenet’ was at the world premiere for ‘BlacK Klansman’ at the Cannes Film Festival. I was not only blown away by the film, but watching John David Washington, I was struck by his natural charisma, which is very evident onscreen, and that gave me great confidence that he could be the strong center of the piece.”|
Washington tells what first drew him to “Tenet” can be summed up in one name. “It’s Christopher Nolan. I’ve seen every one of his films, so whatever he wants me to do, I’m doing. He’s such a dynamic and cinematic storyteller in the way he puts these high concepts together and builds these unique worlds. You’re captivated by what you’re seeing, whether it be the action, the cerebral thriller elements, the score… But at the core are the human connections and the way he’s able to explore the human condition, our need for companionship and the different emotions we go through. It’s always the characters I most invest in.”
The actor recalls, “When I read the script, what grabbed me immediately was that the Protagonist is the audience in a lot of ways. The same journey he’s going through, the audience is going to go through, too.”
“John David is a person of tremendous warmth and generosity,” says Nolan, “but it’s about what he can do as an actor, what his versatility is, what his strength is and how much he can channel into a performance. That boils down to analysis and understanding of the script. John David’s read on the script was immediate, precise and very much in sync with what I felt we needed, which was a fresh take on the figure of the spy, alone, traveling the world trying to avert catastrophe that would destroy everyone and everything around him. I think he had a strong grasp on that right from the beginning.”
“This is a man who is willing to die, not only for the mission but for the people he’s fighting for, and I love that part,” Washington states. “I think that speaks to the kind of person he is. Over the course of the story, the way he sees death is redefined a couple of times. I think what he discovers is, with these different rules governing time, he can change things…and he might have the ability to save the world in a new way. Or maybe what happens, happens. But I believe how we see things—how we see ourselves—is changed forever knowing this is possible.”
The Protagonist is given a partner to help him on his mission, Neil, and Thomas says Robert Pattinson “brings a real light to the film, which is great. We had obviously seen and enjoyed his work for many years, but his recent films opened our eyes to a completely different actor and piqued our interest. It was exciting to see how he manages to disappear into a role, so we were thrilled when he agreed to come to work on this film. He’s just fantastic.”
Neil’s background and previous affiliations are undisclosed—a facet of the character that especially intrigued Pattinson. “I was immediately interested in Neil’s relationship to John David’s character,” he affirms. “Is he a friend or foe? How do you decide when to trust someone and when to be skeptical? How do you know if your instincts are reliable? These are complicated matters in the world as we know it, but I liked seeing how exponentially more complicated those things can become when the rules of known reality are changed and inverted. How is the human side of things changed or strengthened as the known is stripped away from certain characters? Neil operates with a combination of expertise, experience, and gut. There is only so much you can know, so you have to rely on something greater than yourself and take a leap of faith…and it’s a more interesting leap of faith when you don’t know what you believe in or if what you’re doing is right or wrong. I like that.”
For both actors, teamed on their first major action feature, trust was not an issue. “JD is just the best,” Pattinson says. “It was a challenging shoot, and he always brought an unflagging energy and positivity, which was great.”
“I love the way Rob works,” says Washington. “Most times we didn’t need to overly discuss what we were doing; we would just let the moments happen. Honestly, the way it was written, it was all there. It was just about executing and being open to whatever nuances or surprises occur on the day, welcome it with open arms and go with it.”
The person at the center of the Protagonist’s mission is a powerful Russian oligarch named Andrei Sator. “Of course, you have to have an antagonist,” observes Kenneth Branagh, who plays the role. “When Chris and I spoke about him, he told me this guy is as bad as they get, ‘an appalling piece of humanity,’ is how he put it. Yet, what he wrote gives him a personal history that is violent and traumatic, so you don’t necessarily sympathize with Sator, but you can perhaps understand why he would strike such a Faustian bargain.
“The layered nature of the story is a puzzle trapped inside an enigma that, from my point of view of course, starts with Sator,” the actor continues. “He is ruthless and egomaniacal and also has that most dangerous quality in a character such as this: he is energized and capable of getting the job done, so he is someone we all need to fear. That sort of amorality is truly terrifying inside an intelligent being who is capable of such recklessness, and it’s his risk-taking at the center of this film that puts all of the other characters and our world at risk.”
|Tenet in Paris|
Thomas offers, “I think Ken was excited by the challenge of playing a role unlike any he’s ever done. I mean, I’ve seen him play bad guys before but never anything like this—an utterly terrifying and awful man. But beyond all of that, what is most impressive about Ken’s performance is that he is absolutely the sweetest most charming man you could hope to have the privilege to meet. It was absolutely incredible to be having a nice chat with him on set and then watch him turn into this monster in the blink of an eye. And he does it so convincingly.”
Sator is married to a woman named Kat, played by Elizabeth Debicki, who says, when first reading the script, she immediately wondered, “Why is she with this person? What is the root of this relationship? From the beginning, for me, what was very vivid about Kat was the sense that this woman was concealing a tremendous amount about herself in order to survive and that she was grappling with crippling shame and confusion whilst trying to keep her head just above the water at all times. Her constant question to herself is, ‘How the hell did I get myself into this situation? How did I land here?’ Even though she can't escape from it and she endures it all to keep close to her son, she is never a victim of circumstance in that she takes full responsibility for her partnership with Sator. And that dichotomy is so much a part of her fight throughout the film. That was such a rich, potent struggle to have written into the core of this character.”
Thomas reveals that the part of Kat was actually reconceived for Debicki. “The role was originally written as older, but I had seen her in ‘Widows’ and was completely awestruck by her performance in that film. I asked Chris to see it specifically for her and he agreed. So Kat was rewritten with Elizabeth in mind and she was wonderful.”
“I felt that Chris had written a very strong woman onto the page, and truly her strength is her intelligence. Kat is a very quick and intuitive negotiator. She uses her intelligence to manipulate situations when she needs to. She is street smart in that sense. She can read a room in a heartbeat and she likes to feel ahead of your game. It's how she has always survived,” says Debicki. “And she has this kind of dry humor to her—Chris would say a gallows humor—which I love. When you are given a script this profound and interesting and a role like Kat, and you get to work with somebody as remarkable as Chris Nolan, you just surrender to it. Because why would you not? Nobody can really hold a candle to what Chris does: create this epic tale of survival and in it thread an incredibly human story. It’s not often that life hands you such a bundle of creative gifts, and that’s what making this film was like for me.”
|Tenet in Spain. Pases exclusivos en formato 70mm y sonido DTS. Solo en Cines Palafox.|
One of those gifts, she says, was to act alongside Branagh. “It was a huge privilege to work opposite Ken. He is obviously an exceptional actor but also a kind and lovely and hilarious person. We have to go to some dark places with our characters, so I was grateful to have Ken as my scene partner. I felt we both understood the seriousness of the imagery we were putting onscreen in portraying the relationship between these two people.”
The admiration is mutual. “Elizabeth was a joy to work with,” states Branagh. “She has a kind of majestic self-possession beyond her years, but also a cheeky quality and a playfulness. She gives a riveting performance.”
Veteran Indian actress Dimple Kapadia joined the international cast as Priya, a woman living in Mumbai who holds vital information about Sator. “I feel so grateful to be a part of this movie; it was my Cinderella moment in Hollywood,” she says. “When I read the script, I was completely enthralled. It’s a total Nolan ride and I think it’s absolutely spectacular.”
Castmate Aaron Taylor-Johnson agrees. “Chris creates worlds in a science fiction realm, but they somehow feel rooted in reality. They all feel possible and relatable, and you always have empathy for the characters within them.”
Taylor-Johnson plays Ives, who he describes as “a paramilitary specialist in the arena of inversion and a team leader on the Protagonist’s mission. I was fortunate to spend time with the military consultants in preparation. When you approach any role, you want to have as much authenticity as possible, and it’s my job to have those tools ready for a director to tap into.”
The main cast of “Tenet” also includes Martin Donovan, Fiona Dourif, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Himesh Patel, Clémence Poésy, and the legendary actor Thomas has referred to as their good luck charm, Michael Caine. “It really wouldn’t be a Chris Nolan film without Michael Caine at this point,” Thomas smiles. “We’re just blessed and honored to be able to work with him on a continuing basis.”
While it is not out of the ordinary for actors to train for a film, there was nothing ordinary about their training regimen for “Tenet.” Nolan offers, “The interesting thing about ‘Tenet’ is that, going in, there’s an assumption that you can learn the rules intellectually and then be able to visualize things, but that proved to not be the case. We had to plot things out and continually examine them against the ruleset, so everybody had to be very much on their toes. It wasn’t something that you could pick up instinctively; it required training and work. What that meant for the actors and stunt team was they had to have a grasp of the concepts, but they also had to develop procedures for checking themselves and checking the logic of what they were doing.”
“It was groundbreaking stunt training,” Washington attests. “It was just drill it, drill it, drill it, till I didn’t have to think about it anymore, I could just react. I knew my body could do it, but that took rep after rep, day after day. I really pulled from my athletic experience more than I have for any other project in the physical demands and also having that warrior mentality. The physicality of what I was doing also gave me a lot of information of who the Protagonist is, so that aspect of working the character from the outside in truly benefitted me in this particular case.”
The stunt team was responsible for teaching the cast, but they first had to master the movements themselves. Stunt coordinator George Cottle recalls, “There was so much trial and error; it was a hard process but fascinating at the same time. John David had the most to learn and literally could not have put another ounce of effort into what he did. His dedication was unbelievable, and I think it shows on the screen.”
“It was exciting to me because George and all the guys said they had never done anything like this, and they’ve seen it all and done a lot,” Washington says. “It was such a huge benefit for the whole team to have the time we needed to train because we got into a flow and a rhythm.”
Nolan could not have been more impressed by Washington’s physical abilities or more appreciative of his commitment to the task. “Just from the demands of an action spy movie, John David’s role is extremely physical. Then when you add the layer of inversion on top of it, that imposed huge demands on him. If we had not had a performer of such skill and energy, there are things it would not have been possible to do in-camera. That’s what I felt about this film, particularly with John David, but also Rob Pattinson and Ken Branagh: the more they could throw themselves into the spirit of what this piece was going to require, the more we were going to be able to do, for real, in-camera and achieve the full texture and immersion of the piece.”
|More than a decade ago, Christopher Nolan was the first to employ IMAX cameras to shoot a major feature film, and he continues to break new ground with the large-format cameras. Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot most of the action in “Tenet” with IMAX cameras, utilizing them more than they had in any previous production and, van Hoytema suspects, more than anyone has. “We shot around 1.6 million feet of IMAX film, which definitely broke our own record. I can’t say for sure, but I would be surprised if there’s another film that has shot more than that.”|
Nolan adds, “We’ve been able to refine our working methodology with our partners at IMAX and Panavision and make things easier and more versatile. Hoyte and his team were able to get these cameras in all kinds of places for this film. We were able to get them inside very tight environments just by stripping back the cameras and having remote heads that were strong enough to carry the IMAX camera but small enough to get into something like a car, so we could get right up in the action. Hoyte understands my desire to always be right there with the characters because he has a wonderful engineering brain, as well as a great photographic eye, and he’s always looking for, and coming up with, ways to break down the barriers between where the camera can go and where the characters are in a scene.”
In addition to the unprecedented use of IMAX cameras, the specifics of the story demanded a breakthrough in IMAX technology. Van Hoytema details, “One of the biggest technical challenges was that we wanted the IMAX camera to be able to run in reverse to achieve certain in-camera physics that are not possible if the film only goes forwards. IMAX cameras have very powerful motors, but at the same time require extreme precision, and they were not built to go backwards. IMAX was very helpful, working with us on a new engineering project to rebuild mechanics in their magazines and redo electronics to enable us to shoot both ways.”
IMAX cameras do have one major drawback: they are considerably noisier than traditional cameras. But with the latest generation of what are called blimps—sound-reducing housings for the IMAX camera—van Hoytema was able to apply them more broadly than ever before. Nevertheless, he concedes, “There were intimate dialogue moments that we couldn’t get with the IMAX camera, so then we went back to the 65mm camera.”
Cast members were duly impressed by van Hoytema’s adroitness when operating the relatively bulky IMAX camera as a handheld. “Gotta give him credit,” Washington nods. “Those cameras are not light, and he was always right there in the midst of the action. He and Chris never sit down, so I was thinking, ‘I can’t be tired, I can’t sit down if these guys aren’t.’ It was infectious; you couldn’t help but want to keep going and give it your all.”
“Chris has one of the most amazing constitutions I’ve ever seen, and he seems to survive on Earl Grey,” Pattinson agrees with a laugh. “He definitely set a precedent for fortitude.”
The actors also responded to the director’s preference for accomplishing as much as possible in-camera. “It just sparks you; it just pumps you up to know you’re dealing in actualities,” Washington confirms. “Being right there and having everything be tangible just informed my performance. Seeing everything on the set be functional gave me functionality to the nth degree.”
While van Hoytema shares that belief, he allows that there was a distinct learning curve on this project. “I believe in Chris’s methodology very much myself, as I believe it keeps you connected to reality and the audience somehow senses it in their bones. But there were times when I would wonder how on Earth we were going to pull this off, and that made it all the more gratifying when we did. Every day there was something I hadn’t done before and had to educate myself on. Every day you have to push yourself to raise the bar. Then when you emerge at the end, you understand you have become a little richer in terms of the things you’ve learned.”
In addition to reuniting with Hoytema, Nolan teamed again with production designer Nathan Crowley, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson and special effects supervisor Scott Fisher. “Tenet” also marks his first collaboration with editor Jennifer Lame and composer Ludwig Göransson. “Every filmmaking team you put together, you’re looking for that balance of experience and a fresh point of view,” says the director. “You get energized by people for whom everything is new and exciting.”
Principal photography on “Tenet” took Nolan and his production teams to seven different countries on three separate continents: from the United States to the UK, from Estonia in Eastern Europe to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and from India to the Scandinavian countries of Denmark and Norway.
The action in “Tenet” ignites in the film’s prologue, as a heavily armed team storms the opera house in Kiev. The sequence was filmed in Tallinn, Estonia, at Linnahall, a sprawling venue originally constructed for the 1980 Moscow Olympics when Estonia was part of the former Soviet Union. Nathan Crowley says, “I think it’s one of my favorite buildings we’ve ever shot in. It sits overlooking the Baltic Sea and the architecture is a mixture of brutalism and a Mayan temple. It’s huge and still has a grandeur. It definitely ticked all the boxes for Chris and me. Totally cinematic.”
Despite its grandeur, Crowley notes, “They haven’t really maintained the building; it had been derelict for about 10 years. The seats were in a terrible state, all the carpets were gone, and there was a lot of damage to the concrete. There was graffiti and broken glass everywhere, and none of the lights were working. It was a very big job to bring it back to life.
“We cleaned everything up, rebuilt the stage, polished the concrete, and rebuilt some of the outside walls because they had warped over the years. We had to repair the doors and replace an enormous amount of glass. We fixed the existing lighting and added some of our own for filming. We spent a lot of time dealing with all of the audience seating and the carpets, and all of that will stay. For us, it was about taking the flavor of what it was and adding a bit, and it was truly rewarding. It’s a great building and I hope Tallinn does save it.”
Without question, one of the most challenging sequences was an elaborate heist that unfolds on the Laagna Tee—a busy freeway in the center of Tallinn—with cars moving both forward and in reverse. The first step was not only to gain permission to use a long stretch of the highway but also to secure it for several weeks of filming. Executive producer Thomas Hayslip explains, “We were closing off eight kilometers of a six-lane highway down the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of Estonia.” Even after they received the go-ahead, he confesses, “Every day, I worried they would shut us down, but in the end, we were given the time needed to complete the sequence. We have a lot of people to thank for their cooperation and support, from the local authorities to the public.”
With so many moving parts, careful planning was key to capturing the action. Andrew Jackson’s VFX department was integral to that process, creating a previz of the entire sequence for Nolan, the actors and all the departments to reference.
Van Hoytema specifies, “In the car chase, for instance, there are events that go forward and events that go backwards, and at certain points these different timelines interact with each other and have consequences, so we had to unravel the sequence like a puzzle. Andrew’s team was able to conceptualize everything in the computer, laying it out from a bird’s eye view or from anyone’s perspective at any given time. With that road map, we could just pull up a laptop to determine ‘Is this possible?’ ‘No, it’s not because he is supposed to be there still.’”
“The joke on set became that when we would ask a question about the car chase, our first assumption would always be wrong,” Nolan recalls. “It was striking the degree to which your instincts would tell you something, you’d be absolutely convinced of it, and then after puzzling it through, you’d realize you made a wrong turn in your thinking and your instincts had led you down a completely wrong path. So, with all of those complicated sequences, we had to constantly check the previz.”
“The fact that we could not only see all the components but also the relationship between them at specific moments in time and figure out the physics and logistics of it was extremely helpful. Andrew and his team were an extremely important link in that chain,” adds van Hoytema.
The sequence also required the close collaboration of SFX supervisor Scott Fisher and George Cottle. “We talked a lot about how the cars would be controlled in reverse,” says Fisher. “We did some experimentation with George to figure out how we could convert them and then the picture car team did a great job setting up the actual vehicles for the movie, incorporating things we had tested.”
“We were adamant from the very early tests we did that if the car is going backwards, it is going to be a real car doing 50 or 60 miles-per-hour,” adds Cottle. “We weren’t going to cheat that. It took some practice, but we got there.”
Cottle assembled a core team of 20 top drivers from Los Angeles, many of whom had worked on a number of Nolan’s films, including Jim Wilkey, who famously flipped the Joker truck in “The Dark Knight.” Cottle says, “When we got to Estonia, we were already a few paces ahead of the game.”
In Estonia, they were joined by experienced stunt drivers from Estonia, Prague, the UK, and elsewhere. Prior to filming the sequence, Cottle relates, “We went out to a disused runway and rehearsed everything, because we knew it was going to be a handful.”
The actors were permitted to do their own driving for a portion, which Pattinson calls “extraordinarily fun. I’m a pretty conservative driver, but weaving in and out of traffic with an IMAX camera on a rig in front of the car was unbelievably exciting.”
Thomas relates, “Rob didn’t talk up his driving ability at all; in fact, he acts as though he can barely drive and isn’t a pro at all. But when the stunt team did an evaluation of what he could do, they were duly impressed, so he ended up doing a lot of his own driving in the movie.”
The actors’ skills notwithstanding, given any safety concerns, the stunt team took control of the cars for the more difficult maneuvers. Cottle explains, “All of our hero cars were able to have pod-rigs in or on the vehicles, so we could have a stunt driver in what looks like a little cage strapped to the roof or hidden somewhere in the car. It looks like the actor is driving, but in reality, the stunt driver is steering.”
Having now been on the stunt teams of six Nolan-directed films, Cottle states, “Chris’s diligence when it comes to safety is second to none; he lives and breathes it. He would constantly turn to me and ask, ‘How are you feeling about this? Are we good? Are we safe? Do you need more time?’ He won’t let anyone be rushed if it compromises safety. For me and my team, and everyone else on set, it’s so gratifying.”
Locations in Estonia also included the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn, which became the lobby of the Oslo freeport; the interior of a warehouse, which housed the Tallinn freeport; a railyard; and the port where the Protagonist arrives in Estonia.
|ITALY – ON THE AMALFI COAST:|
In Italy, the primary “stage” sat on the azure blue waters off the picturesque Amalfi Coast: a luxury superyacht, which was home to Andrei Sator. Marine coordinator Neil Andrea, who was responsible for acquiring the wide variety of boats seen in “Tenet,” found the yacht, named Planet Nine. Measuring just over seventy-three meters (240 feet) long, the yacht has six decks and its own helicopter pad, “which was very important for some of the scenes we had to do and one of the key reasons we liked it,” says Crowley. “The reinforced steel-grey hull also made it appear more industrial, which felt right for this character.”
Branagh agrees. “Sator designed and built it to be his palace, his escape, his refuge, and it gives you a clue how he reacts to the world, both aggressively and defensively. The boat itself was an amazing sculptural and structural thing. It’s true to say of all films that there are no casual shots, but you feel with every frame of a Chris Nolan film that a judgment about what can add to the story is in play at all times. So this boat—its military nature, its color, its angularity—takes you inside the mind of Andrei Sator, projecting an image that is sinister and threatening.”
To amplify that image, Crowley says he had one distinct accoutrement installed on the back of the Planet Nine. “We added a rocket launcher to feed into that semi-military look that says, ‘Don’t come near this yacht,’ and also reinforce the idea you can’t get to this guy.”
The utmost care was taken in making any alterations to the boat and all during filming. Crowley affirms, “When you rent a giant superyacht, you try not to do any damage, so when the crew came onboard, carrying all that equipment, it was important that corners or any surface that could get chipped was protected.” In fact, four members of the film crew were assigned to safeguard the yacht from any potential damage.
Crowley and his team did make some modifications to the yacht: a deck was constructed atop an existing deck to raise it higher, and set dressing was added to suit the character of Sator. However, moving or removing the existing décor proved a little more complicated. “We had to be able to move things around to position the lights and cameras,” says Crowley, “and in at least one room we took out most of the furniture so there would be plenty of room for the actors to move through the space.” Clearing space meant the furniture had to be literally unbolted from the deck, so as a precaution, the Planet Nine crew was put in charge of the furniture removal.
There was one feature of the yacht that could not be modified: its helipad was not built to withstand the weight of Sator’s Russian-made Mil Mi-8 twin-turbine helicopter, which came in well above the pad’s maximum weight capacity. Hayslip details, “We had to figure out how to complete the helicopter sequence without actually touching down. We were able to find a great crew out of Eastern Europe that does search and rescue. They did some tests and when we came to shoot the scene, they brought the helicopter in and just barely hovered, so it will look like the wheels are on the yacht, but they weren’t. It was basically the width of a piece of paper; they were that precise.”
Although crucial scenes on the yacht are set in the waters off Vietnam, the filmmakers knew it was impractical to cruise the Planet Nine to Southeast Asia. Instead, they allowed the Amalfi Coast to double for Vietnam. “There are some cliffs and nearby areas that are clear of all the Italian architecture,” Crowley offers, “so we were able to play that as Vietnam. It’s quite a long-lens shot, so we just needed to change the look of it from afar. We built a little dock onto the beach and re-skinned some Italian fishing boats to make them look like Vietnamese fishing boats. Welcome to Vietnam,” he smiles.
Filming on the Amalfi Coast also took place in the town of Ravello, including at a restaurant where the Protagonist has his first encounter with Sator.
|THE UK – SOUTHAMPTON AND LONDON:|
Planet Nine may serve as Andrei Sator’s ocean home, but for excitement on the high seas, he owns two state-of-the-art F50 foiling catamarans. Giving the F50 its distinctive profile, the 24-meter-tall (almost 79 feet) sail is rigid, similar to an airplane wing, bending the wind around it, generating more force. Several hydrofoils under the hull elevate the boat out of the water, giving it less drag, resulting in greater speed. The F50 is capable of reaching record-breaking speeds of more than 50 knots—more than 60 miles-per-hour—so piloting it demands both nerves of steel and skilled handling: too high, you can capsize; too low and you lose valuable speed.
After the Protagonist makes contact with him, Sator takes him out on one of his F50s, racing against the other. For both the character and the actor who plays him, it was the definition of a thrill ride. “Those things are intense,” Washington attests. “They were just high flying, and I was thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But I couldn’t be timid about it, especially seeing Chris and Hoyte strapped to the middle, filming us—they were just in heaven, loving every minute. It was so much fun. Smooth sailing!”
Debicki adds, “When the three of us were hanging on the side and the boat lifted out of the water, I’ve never felt anything like it. It was exhilarating but quite terrifying actually…certainly for people who aren’t trained sailors. But that is one of the gifts of a Nolan film: you find yourself in situations you would otherwise never, ever learn to navigate, inhabit or even witness.”
Understanding the prowess required to handle the F50, the production reached out to the SailGP team, but they were in the midst of their racing circuit, and during the time “Tenet” would be filming in Amalfi, they would be racing in Nice. Fortunately, they were able to rendezvous in Southampton, UK, right after Cowes Week, the biggest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Nevertheless, they had a narrow window in which to shoot, as the team had to repair their boats from the last race and get them ready for another race following work on the movie.
Even with the most experienced people at the helm, the filmmakers soon learned that there are established parameters of wind velocity in which the F50 can safely sail: it has to be blowing at least five knots but no more than eighteen. “We were very much at the mercy of what is and is not possible with these boats,” van Hoytema says. “That was difficult because, as a film crew, you are used to setting the pace. We would be filming, getting into the rhythm, finding interesting shots…and suddenly the wind would come up and we’d have to go back. These boats are incredible and, in many ways, it was a beautiful experience, but it could also be frustrating because we were not the ones setting the pace. It was the elements that did that.”
It would have been impossible for any other vessel to keep up with the F50 going full speed, so Nolan and van Hoytema employed a helicopter for tracking shots and used a camera boat with an IMAX camera on an edge arm to catch the F50 as it tore past. For closeups and dialogue, they built a “buck”—a replica of a F50 hull—which could be strapped to a bigger boat. The actors worked in the buck while Nolan, van Hoytema and the camera crew were situated on the boat attached.
In the UK, some scenes were also shot in London at such locations as Shipley’s Auction House, where the Protagonist first encounters Kat; a private school, where Sator and Kat’s son attends; and a members’ club, where the Protagonist meets with Michael Caine’s character, Michael Crosby.
INDIA - MUMBAI:
The filmmakers, cast and crew landed in Mumbai, India, at the tail end of monsoon season, and the sometimes-torrential rains meant that, once again, the elements had a say in filming. “I mean, honestly,” Hayslip recalls, “we’d get ready to shoot and the sun would be where we’d need it to be, and Chris would say, ‘Okay, guys, let’s get ready to go.’ And then we’d look and see a gigantic cloud coming, so we’d cover everything up and stand there in the driving rain. But as soon as it moved on, we’d get right back to it…totally soaked.”
Shooting after dark required extensive lighting, including “big, big lamps on roofs all around because we needed to light up a large area,” says van Hoytema. “The amount of water pouring out of the sky in combination with the high-voltage electricity was very technically challenging, but we figured it out. It was all thanks to my crew; they are so good at what they do, they make the most complex situations feel easy.”
The night shoot captured a stunt sequence that was, in and of itself, complex, weather notwithstanding. The Protagonist and Neil have to gain access to the heavily guarded penthouse of a 20-plus story building to make an important contact. But the only way inside is from outside. Cottle recalls, “We were looking at different options and I said, ‘What if we run them up the side of the building?’ Chris took it to the next level with, ‘What if we bungee them up?’ And I said, ‘Why not?’ But once I said it, I knew, with Chris, there would be no cheating. So much planning went into getting ready for that stunt because we needed to be able to execute it for real, and, as always, our top priority was safety.”
The stunt coordinator and his rigging coordinator, Chris Daniels, flew to Mumbai to take precise measurements to see how much rigging would be required. “It was 250 feet up to where we needed to get, so the only way was to build a truss,” says Cottle.
A small team went in early to start prepping and testing the stunt. “We were only going to be in Mumbai for less than a week, so I knew the second we got there, it had to be ready to go! And, oh yeah, the guys landed there in the middle of a monsoon, so they had to rig, test and prep everything in the most torrential rain you’ve ever seen,” Cottle notes.
Constructed on the roof of the building and made of super-strong aluminum, the truss securely held the lines to launch the actors, and then their stunt doubles, up from the roof of the neighboring seven-story building. The two men were lying prone on the roof harnessed to high-speed mechanical winches, which, like everything else, had been carefully tested. “Then we would hit the button, and it would fire them up 70 feet to where they would first touch the building,” Cottle describes. “And just as they did, we would hit it again and fire them up to where they landed. John David and Rob did the first part of the takeoff—we stopped them after the first 20 feet—so when you see the characters leave the frame, that’s really them. It was amazing to watch them do it.”
Going out the way they came in, the Protagonist and Neil bungee jump off the side of the terrace. Washington and Pattinson took the first step: leaping onto a safety net below, before their stunt doubles, Daniel Graham and Kyle McLean, respectively, took over. Both actors admit that, although they had complete trust in the prep and safety measures, that initial jump was daunting. “We laugh about it now, but I was super nervous about it,” Washington concedes with a smile. “There was a landing bed maybe half a story down, but you still have to jump off. After that, I could handle anything.”
Pattinson concurs, “Even though we only had to do a kind of mini jump, it’s essentially the same as the big jump because you’re on the same wire, looking at a 20-story drop. It was terrifying, but it was fun. And it’s such a cool moment. It was a kind of a fantasy fulfilment scene to do.”
“When you have physically talented performers, as we did on this film, it frees me as a filmmaker,” says Nolan. “It gave me more latitude in terms of how we could shoot things and that benefited me greatly.”
While in India, the production also filmed at the magnificent Gateway to India arch, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Someone all-too-familiar with the intricacies of filming in her native Mumbai, Dimple Kapadia observes, “I’ve never experienced this kind of a shoot. Coming to India and putting everything together on such a massive production was absolutely awesome. It was so organized and so beautifully done, it was like clockwork. Everybody was just gob-smacked at what Chris and his crew accomplished there.”
|SCANDINAVIA – DENMARK AND OSLO, NORWAY:|
Early in “Tenet,” the Protagonist is isolated in a towering wind turbine in a vast offshore wind farm, where he trains for his next move…and waits to learn what that will be. Both the exteriors and interiors were shot at an actual turbine in a wind farm in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark.
Out on the water, filming also took place on a large icebreaker ship, where weather continued to have an effect on the logistics. “One of the major issues we had filming in that part of the world was the weather,” Neil Andrea says. “We were inside a wind farm, so we knew it was going to be rough. We had, at times, 40-plus-knot winds and eight- to ten-foot swells. But, carrying over what we learned from our experience working on ‘Dunkirk,’ we were ready and knew how to handle it.”
The icebreaker itself was too big to come inside the harbor, so it was moored a mile from the shore. Cast, crew, cameras, and other gear had to be shuttled from land on crew transport vessels, over choppy seas that somehow smoothed as they neared the ship. Andrea explains, “The icebreaker is fitted with a dynamic global positioning system and has thrusters on the sides to maneuver it and hold it steadily in position. With that, we were able to turn the ship into the wind, so that it would be calm when coming from the stern of the boat, where we could then load people and equipment on and off safely.”
The company also filmed for one day in Oslo, Norway, including a meeting between the Protagonist and Neil on the rooftop of the Oslo Opera House, and a discussion of the “dramatics” of crashing a plane, shot on a city street.
THE UNITED STATES – SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
While set in Oslo, the decidedly dramatic plane crash was shot at the airport in Victorville, California, located at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. Despite Nolan’s penchant for realizing even the most explosive action sequences in-camera, he had originally intended to film that specific scene utilizing miniatures and VFX, understandably assuming it would be prohibitive on several fronts to crash a real plane. Surprisingly, Thomas reveals, “We ran the numbers and it turned out it was more cost effective to buy a retired plane than to build a miniature and a full-size set piece for the interior.”
Nolan, Crowley and Hayslip went to the airport in Victorville, where old passenger planes being salvaged for scrap are stored. The plane Nolan decided on was a 747 jumbo jet…but, ironically, before they could crash it, they first had to restore it. Scott Fisher clarifies, “When a plane is decommissioned, they take out the brakes and other parts, so our main focus was first replacing the brakes because being able to stop it was obviously the most important thing. We also had to figure out the steering, what our tow vehicle was going to be and make sure everything was functioning as it should.”
The filmmakers still needed clearance from the airport, as well as from Boeing, who built the plane and whose hangar and property was needed because it was part of the set build location. “The sequence involved the plane running over cars and knocking down light posts and finally slamming into a building, before catching fire—essentially everything that an airport doesn’t want to happen, we were doing,” Hayslip acknowledges. “After we got them to agree to it, we had to get Boeing on board to prove we wouldn’t damage their hangar or stored aircraft. We had physicists draw up calculations for the stunt, asking them if the plane weighs this much, and has this much braking power, and it’s going this fast, how quickly can it stop and where will it stop? We showed them that if you push the button here, the plane will travel 23 feet and stop right there, and they said that’s fine.”
For reasons of both safety and control, the jet could not taxi under its own power, so Jim Wilkey—who had to go to school to earn a specialized license—drove the tow vehicle that pulled the plane down the runway, before it veered off; then a cable/pulley system took over to guide the actual impact. Cottle relates, “Jim spent a couple of weeks with Scott and his gang just working out the system and getting the timing down even before the rest of us turned up.” The plane was steered by a driver in a pod near the wheel well in the belly of the plane. “We definitely ruled out having anyone in the cockpit, to keep them as far as possible from the impact zone and on the opposite side of the pyrotechnics,” says Fisher.
Shot at night, the jet crash sequence required a huge lighting set up. Van Hoytema confirms, “It had to cover a very large area, so we had condors with lights and light sources on top of all the surrounding buildings. Everything was visible for a mile, which was a challenge because it was supposed to be an airfield in Oslo, and we didn’t want to see the dry Mojave Desert.”
|Copenhagen bill-board for Gentofte Kino. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev|
Even in the midst of filming such an elaborate sequence, Nolan says he has to maintain his equanimity so that others follow his lead. “I have to be very objective and not think about at the magnitude of it. I have to look at it as just another set of shots because the department heads and the people putting together something that complicated have to be able to do it calmly and safely. If everybody is too enamored with the scale of it, things will fall between the cracks. You have to be very focused on safety, so there has to be a lot of communication between departments to know exactly where they’re going to allow us to be and where we can place our cameras. But once we start putting the sound on it, cutting it together and seeing people’s reaction to it, then I get to enjoy the feat of it.”
Himesh Patel, whose character, Mahir, is integral to the scene, says, “Chris does things at such a huge scale, but everything is pinned to the story. He has it all mapped out and you know that you’re in safe hands. It’s an amazing thing to witness.”
A terminal at Los Angeles International Airport stood in for an Oslo Airport terminal.
The most labyrinthine sequence in “Tenet” unfolds in an abandoned city in Russia, and filming encompassed three separate locations. Exteriors were shot at a now-defunct iron ore mine in the desert ghost town of Eagle Mountain, near Indio. Nathan Crowley says, “We wanted ruined buildings in a barren, Siberian-type landscape without trees or foliage. Eagle Mountain had a core batch of existing structures that we realized we could twist into old apartment buildings. We added buildings as well, maintaining the brutalist feel that has been the architectural language of the film since Linnahall.”
In addition to constructing a number of full-size buildings, Crowley’s team fashioned what he calls “bigatures”—large-scale models—and incorporated forced perspective to make the already immense set seem even more vast. “You can deceive the eye with forced perspective,” Crowley offers. “We can make something look like it goes on forever, but it’s an illusion. It’s actually an old technique that’s been largely replaced by greenscreen, but we prefer the practical approach. And why not? It’s more fun to create something, so, if we can build it, we do, and if it’s impossible, we rely on our VFX colleagues.”
Apart from several of the film’s lead actors, the Eagle Mountain sequence involved the entire stunt team and hundreds of extras. Given the demands of the action, as well as the location, George Cottle had one pre-requisite for the background players. “We knew we had to go ex-military because these people were going to be in full military fatigues with guns and all the gear, and just wearing all that stuff for 10 hours a day in the desert heat takes a certain mindset.” Adding to the task, they would be running over a hilly terrain, littered with rocks and chunks of concrete from exploded buildings, with carefully placed detonations going off all around them.
Some interiors of the Eagle Mountain sequence were done on Stage 16 at Warner Bros., best known for its enormous tank. “Stage 16 gave us the height we needed because the tank allows you to build up from 20 feet below floor level,” says Crowley. “There is no way we could have built this set on any other stage. Vertically, it was by far the best.”
The third location was an old, shut-down mall in the city of Hawthorne, where they built the largest of the turnstiles. “It’s an underground entrance to a turnstile that was industrial, strong, concrete. We built it there because it carried on that sort of brutalist architectural theme,” says Crowley.
There were four turnstiles in all, each with its own unique design: one was constructed in the warehouse in Estonia; two were built in the Hawthorne Mall; and the fourth was built on Stage 23 at Warner Bros. “Those sets were remarkable,” says Hayslip. “Think of a revolving door but exponentially bigger in scale. They were just amazing pieces of machinery that were mechanized to move and articulate. Some of them were big enough to take cars into.”
The final creative piece of “Tenet” was the score, composed by Ludwig Göransson, who says that, although he had never worked with the director before, “Chris has had a colossal impact on the way I approach and experience film. Speaking with him, about his vision for the score, I was immediately struck by the depth of his musical knowledge and his drive to push the boundaries in music production with ‘Tenet.’ When I started writing, those conversations became listening sessions where we would dissect the sounds, harmonies and textures, then refine them little by little. By the time Chris left to shoot, he had two hours of music to listen to as he traveled all over the world. He would write me notes from wherever he was with ideas on which sound belonged to which character, or how the music could interact differently with a scene he was shooting that day.”
Describing his process, Göransson says, “There are a lot of sound illusions in the score. I spent an inordinate amount of time taking familiar sounds, then, both organically and digitally, manipulating them so that they reflected the complex world of ‘Tenet.’ One of the biggest challenges for me in writing this score was how do I provide a musical roadmap for audiences as they experience something so conceptually ambitious and technically unprecedented?”
Emma Thomas says, “Music is always such an important part of any film, but particularly in Chris’s films, the music almost becomes a character. Ludwig brought a freshness and a different energy to the score. He was fantastic and we absolutely loved working with him.”
After successfully capturing the film’s many ambitious stunts during principal photography, Nolan could never have imagined that his commitment to safety would extend to completing the score in post; however recent events forced a change of venue from the typical scoring stage. Göransson explains, “Finishing the score during the pandemic was a very different experience. We were lucky to be able to use recordings from an early orchestral session in Los Angeles, but our plan to do two more weeks of big orchestral sessions had to be reconsidered. When the world changed, Chris and I decided to finish the orchestral aspects of the score by recording all of the musicians separately in their homes—a process that sounds much easier than it was.” The composer notes that once everything was blended together, “We were both thrilled with the results.”
Thomas affirms, “I don’t think you would ever know that the score had to be recorded in a different way. It sounds absolutely incredible.”
With “Tenet” completed, Thomas reflects, “The thing I want most for audiences is to experience an escape, to be transported by this story. Over the last few months, we’ve all been missing that sort of immersion in another world, and I’m excited for people to enjoy that again. This film is one that truly does that well. You sit down in your seat, and it grabs you by the scruff of your neck, and it doesn’t let go until the end credits are up.”
Nolan concludes, “With ‘Tenet,’ what I’m hoping is to give audiences a reason for re-approaching and re-experiencing action cinema, and the spy movie genre in particular. I want to give them a different way of looking at it, so they get some of the sense of excitement that I had as a kid watching those kinds of films. We’re trying to give the audience a new experience that re-injects that sense of the unknown in movie action sequences. We really want to give people a ride like nothing they’ve had before.”
About the Cast
|JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON (Protagonist) recently starred in “Monsters and Men,” directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, in which he played the role of Dennis alongside up-and-comers Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Chante Adams. The script was selected and developed as part of the 2017 Sundance Directors Lab. Washington received a nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Male for his performance in the film. He was also seen in the Anthony Mandler-helmed “All Rise,” starring Jeffrey Wright, ASAP Rocky and Jennifer Hudson. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.|
Washington played the lead in “BlacKkKlansman,” directed by Spike Lee and produced by Jason Blum and Jordan Peele. Adam Driver and Laura Harrier also starred in the film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a standing ovation and won the Grand Prix. Washington received multiple nominations for his portrayal of Ron Stallworth during the 2019 awards season, including Best Actor nominations for both a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In the fall of 2018, he appeared in “The Old Man & the Gun,” directed by David Lowery, acting opposite Casey Affleck, Elisabeth Moss and Robert Redford. Washington made his film debut as a child in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” in 1992. He returned to the big screen in 2017 in “Love Beats Rhymes,” directed by RZA, opposite Common and Jill Scott.
Prior to acting, Washington spent six years playing professional football. Shortly after, he booked his first-ever audition to play Ricky Jerret in the HBO series “Ballers,” with Dwayne Johnson. His performance as Ricky generated rave reviews. The show aired its fifth and final season in 2019.
ROBERT PATTINSON (Neil) maintains a fearless pursuit of challenging roles, evolving with each new project and captivating global audiences with his transformative performances. Following “Tenet,” Pattinson stars in the Antonio Campos feature “The Devil All the Time,” in which he stars as Preston Teagardin, a preacher who is new to town. Netflix is expected to release the film on September 16, 2020. Pattinson is also starring alongside Johnny Depp and Mark Rylance in “Waiting for the Barbarians,” based on J.M. Coetzee’s allegorical novel. The film premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and was just released in the U.S.
In early 2020, Pattinson began production on the feature “The Batman,” taking over the iconic dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for director Matt Reeves. The film is slated for release on October 1, 2021. Pattinson recently starred opposite Willem Dafoe in the acclaimed Robert Eggers-directed feature “The Lighthouse.” The film, which the story of an aging lighthouse keeper in early 20th-century Maine, debuted to rave reviews at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in the Director’s Fortnight section. Pattinson was nominated for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead for his performance in the film, which was released in the U.S. on October 18, 2019.
Also in 2019, Pattinson starred in Claire Denis’s debut English-language film, “High Life,” with Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth. The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the U.S. on April 12, 2019. Additionally, Pattinson was seen in David Michôd’s “The King,” in which he starred as The Dauphin, alongside Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton. The film debuted at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, was released by Netflix in theaters October 11, 2019 and began streaming on the platform November 1.
On June 22, 2018, Pattinson opened David and Nathan Zellner’s feature “Damsel,” starring opposite Mia Wasikowska and receiving rave reviews for his comedic performance. In 2017, Pattinson starred in the crime drama from Josh and Benny Safdie, “Good Time,” which premiered at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival to a six-minute standing ovation and critical praise. He was also nominated for the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead for his performance. That same year, Pattinson starred in James Gray’s true-life drama “The Lost City of Z,” about British explorer Percival Fawcett, alongside Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland.
In 2015, he appeared in Anton Corbijn’s “Life,” about the friendship between Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock, played by Pattinson, and James Dean, played by Dane DeHaan. He also starred in Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert,” opposite Nicole Kidman. The previous year, he starred in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” opposite Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore and John Cusack, and in David Michôd’s “The Rover,” with Guy Pierce. Both films premiered at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival. His additional film credits include David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” and he also joined Francis Lawrence and co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz in bringing the New York Times bestselling novel Water for Elephants to the screen. He previously headlined the drama “Remember Me,” directed by Allen Coulter, appearing opposite Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Emilie De Ravin. Pattinson also starred with Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci in “Bel Ami,” based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant.
Pattinson earlier gained industry notice at age 19 when he joined the Harry Potter franchise in Mike Newell’s “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” playing Cedric Diggory, Hogwarts’ official representative in the Triwizard Tournament. He is also known worldwide for his portrayal of the vampire Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” saga. Pattinson began his career with a role in Uli Edel’s “Sword of Xanten,” opposite Sam West and Benno Fürmann. He also appeared in Oliver Irving’s “How to Be,” winner of the Slamdance Film Festival’s Special Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature; and played the lead role of Salvador Dali in “Little Ashes,” directed by Paul Morrison. His television credits include “The Haunted Airman” for the BBC.
As a member of the Barnes Theatre Group, Pattinson played the lead role in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” His other stage credits include Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” and “Macbeth” at the OSO Arts Centre. Pattinson has been the face of Dior Homme’s fragrance since 2013 and is the face of Dior Homme ready-to-wear. He is actively involved with the GO Campaign, an international charity organization improving the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the world through local solutions, and was named as their first ambassador in 2015.
ELIZABETH DEBICKI (Kat) is an Australian stage and film actress who quickly gained attention after first making her mark in 2013 in Baz Luhrmann’s critically acclaimed film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. Debicki was awarded an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award (AACTA) for her role as Jordan Baker in the film. She was also nominated for an Empire Award for Best Newcomer. Debicki is the 2019 recipient of Women in Film and Max Mara’s Face of the Future Award, which honors one actress per year who has demonstrated an exceptional level of skill, style, grace, and a commitment to film and television. Most recently in film, Debicki starred alongside Claes Bang, Mick Jagger, and Donald Sutherland in Giuseppe Capotondi’s Italian-American dramatic thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” which was selected as the closing-night film of the 2019 Venice Film Festival, one of the films for the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and the opening night film at the 2020 Miami Film Festival, marking its U.S. premiere.
In 2018, Debicki starred alongside Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo in the critically acclaimed “Widows,” directed by Steve McQueen and written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn. Her brilliant performance in the film landed her on the cover of Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue and the cover of Vogue, as well as extensive global praise, including the Hawaii Film Critics Society Award, the Dorian Award, and runner up for the National Society of Film Critics Award. She also received nominations from the London Critics Circle, the North Texas Film Critics Association, and the LA Online Film Critics Society. Upcoming, Debicki will be heard in the animated sequel “Peter Rabbit 2,” reprising the voice of Mopsy Rabbit, which she played in the 2018 animated hit “Peter Rabbit,” joined by James Cordon and Margot Robbie. In 2018, Debicki starred alongside Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn in “The Tale,” written and directed by Jennifer Fox. “The Tale” premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and later aired on HBO. She also starred in “Vita and Virginia,” which premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and was the premiere film at the 2019 BFI Flare Festival.
In 2017, Debicki starred in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” as the villain Ayesha, alongside Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Kurt Russell. That same year, she completed the J.J. Abrams-produced “The Cloverfield Paradox,” also starring David Oyelowo and Daniel Brühl and directed by Julius Onah. Previous film credits for Debicki include Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” alongside Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander; “Macbeth,” with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; and “Everest,” with Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright and Keira Knightley. On stage, Debicki starred alongside Mark Strong and Hope Davis in David Hare’s 2016 production of “The Red Barn,” based on the novel La Main by Georges Simenon, at the National Theatre. She also starred in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of “The Maids,” alongside Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert, as part of the 2014 Lincoln Center Festival in New York. Debicki also starred as Jed in the Emmy-nominated miniseries “The Night Manager,” an adaptation of John le Carré’s novel, which also starred Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Also on the small screen, she played the leading role in the Australian Foxtel drama “The Kettering Incident.”
DIMPLE KAPADIA (Priya) is a well-known and respected actress in Indian cinema. She was discovered by the famous actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor and debuted as a lead actress in his 1973 film “Bobby” at the tender age of 16. She became a huge star overnight and the film was a big hit at the Indian box office. She won her first Filmfare Award for Best Leading Actress, considered the topmost honor for all actors in the Hindi film Industry. Kapadia became so famous from her first film that female fans all over India looked up to her as an Indian fashion and youth icon. The same year “Bobby” released, Kapadia married India’s most famous star, Rajesh Khanna, and chose to retire and settle down as a wife and mother of two beautiful girls. After 11 years of marriage, she decided to return to acting in 1984. During the next decade Kapadia went on to the become one of the most popular leading actresses in Indian cinema. The first film she worked on upon her return was “Saagar,” for which she won a second Filmfare Award as Best Leading Actress. The film was a critical success and was India’s official entry to the Oscars that year. The next three years she did several films but was creatively unsatisfied until an offer came for the film “Kaash,” to play the challenging role of a young, suffering wife whose son has leukemia, receiving critical praise for her performance.
She continued to do commercial films throughout the 1980s and then decided to venture into arthouse cinema in the ‘90s, yearning to exhibit her best potential. Among the films in which she starred, some that stood out include “Drishti,” “Lekin,” and “Rudaali.” For her portrayal as a career woman in “Drishti,” opposite Shekar Kapur, she was named the Best Actress (Hindi) of the Year by the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association. The film was acknowledged as the Best Hindi Film of that year at the annual National Film Awards. In Gulzar’s “Lekin,” she played a restless sprite named Reva, a role she has often cited as a personal favorite, in a performance that earned her a third Filmfare nomination. In 1993, she won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Rudaali,” a drama directed by Kalpana Lajmi, in which she played the central character of Shanichari. In addition to a third Filmfare nomination for Best Actress for this performance, she won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and was acknowledged with Best Actress honors at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the International Film Festival in Damascus. Another Filmfare nomination for Kapadia came that year for her supporting role as Shanti, a street prostitute, in the Priyadarshan-directed drama “Gardish.”
In 1994, Kapadia appeared in Mehul Kumar's “Krantiveer.” For her performance, Kapadia received her fourth Filmfare Award, this time in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 2001, Kapadia starred in “Dil Chahta Hai,” depicting the contemporary routine life of Indian affluent youth and also starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna. The film won National Film Award for best feature film in Hindi. The following year, Kapadia portrayed the title role—written specially for her—in the drama “Leela,” an American production directed by Somnath Sen and co-starring Deepti Naval, Vinod Khanna and Amol Mhatre. Many critics praised her performance in the film. In 2009, Kapadia was cast in Zoya Akhtar's first directorial venture, “Luck By Chance,” a satirical take on the Hindi film industry. Critics were appreciative of Kapadia's performance, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at Filmfare. Kapadia collaborated twice with director Homi Adajania, in 2012’s romantic comedy “Cocktail,” and in 2014 in the satirical road movie “Finding Fanny,” earned her another Best Supporting Actress nomination at Filmfare. Kapadia’s most recent film was “Angrezi Medium,” starring Irrfan Khan and Radhika Madan in the lead.
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON (Ives) is a Golden Globe winning actor who has made a significant impression on audiences worldwide in several memorable performances. Born in High Wycombe, England, he began performing at age nine and attended the prestigious Jackie Palmer Stage School. Taylor-Johnson, alongside his wife, Sam Taylor-Johnson, co-penned the feature film adaptation of James Frey’s 2003 book A Million Little Pieces. Sam also directed the film, which co-starred Billy Bob Thornton, Odessa Young, and Charlie Hunnam. In 2018, Taylor-Johnson starred in David McKenzie’s “Outlaw King” as the storied figure James Douglas, alongside Chris Pine who portrays Robert the Bruce. The film was released globally by Netflix and premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and 2018 London Film Festival. In 2017, Taylor-Johnson starred in Doug Liman’s thriller “The Wall,” playing an American sniper in a cat-and-mouse game with an Iraqi sharpshooter.
In 2016, he starred in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals,” alongside Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. His performance in the drama, adapted from Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan, earned Taylor-Johnson a Golden Globe Award, as well as a BAFTA Film Award nomination and three film critics society award nominations, for Best Supporting Actor. The film was showcased at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize; 2016 Toronto International Film Festival; and 2016 BFI London Film Festival; and garnered several awards nominations in the 2016-2017 season. In 2015, Taylor-Johnson joined the returning cast of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Ruffalo in the second installment of the Avengers franchise, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen played brother-sister duo Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. The sequel earned more than $1 billion in worldwide box office sales. In 2014, Taylor-Johnson starred in the action adventure “Godzilla,” alongside Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen. Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film grossed more than $200 million domestically.
In 2012, he portrayed Count Vronsky in the adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” directed by Joe Wright. The film, an innovative retelling of the classic novel, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Earlier that year, Taylor-Johnson starred opposite Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively in Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” with a stellar supporting cast, including Salma Hayek, John Travolta, and Benicio Del Toro. In 2010, Taylor-Johnson played the lead role of Dave Lizewski in the cult hit film “Kick-Ass,” opposite Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the Mark Millar comic won Best British Film at the Empire Awards. In 2013, Taylor-Johnson reprised his role in the sequel “Kick-Ass 2.” In 2009, Taylor-Johnson was seen in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s “Nowhere Boy,” in which he portrayed John Lennon during his turbulent teenage years. His riveting performance earned several award nominations, including a London Critics’ Circle Film Award for Young British Performer of the Year, a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor, and an Empire Award for Best Newcomer, which he won. Screen International named him as one of their Stars of Tomorrow in their 2010 portfolio.
His previous roles include playing a younger version of Edward Norton’s character in the Oscar-nominated film “The Illusionist”; “Shanghai Nights,” opposite Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson; “The Thief Lord,” with Caroline Goodall and Jasper Harris; the independent U.K. film “Dummy”; Gurinder Chadha’s “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging”; and “The Greatest,” opposite Carey Mulligan and Pierce Brosnan. He has also appeared in several popular U.K. television series, including “Feather Boy,” “Family Business,” “Nearly Famous” and “Talk to Me.” In 2017, Taylor-Johnson joined the House of Givenchy, representing the brand’s Gentleman fragrance. The fragrance print and commercial campaign, directed by artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, is emblematic of Givenchy’s classic elegance.
HIMESH PATEL (Mahir) has established himself as one of the UK’s most versatile actors, with projects spanning theatre, TV and film, which was cemented when he was voted one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2019. Upcoming, Patel will star as an unemployed lost soul who must become a leader in Hiro Murai’s “Station Eleven,” a post-apocalyptic miniseries saga. Patel recently starred in HBO’s “Avenue 5,” a sci-fi comedy set 40 years in the future in the world of space tourism, created, written and executive produced by Armando Iannucci and also starring Hugh Laurie, Josh Gad and Zach Woods. He was most recently seen in “The Luminaries,” the six-part BBC Two/Working Title TV adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prize-winning novel, an adventure mystery that tells the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers navigating life in the midst of New Zealand's 1860's gold rush. Taking on the role of Emery Staines, Patel stars opposite Eva Green, Eve Hewson and Marton Csokas.
Last year was an incredibly busy one for Patel, who starred as the leading man in Danny Boyle’s smash hit musical comedy “Yesterday,” written by Richard Curtis and also starring Lily James, Kate McKinnon and Ed Sheeran.. As a struggling singer-songwriter who—after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, wakes up to discover he is the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles—Patel performs new versions of The Beatles’ most beloved hits. Also in 2019, Patel was seen in Tom Harper’s film “The Aeronauts,” alongside Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne. Written by Jack Thorne, the film was released in November and was very well received by critics following its London Film Festival premiere.
Showcasing his comedic talents, Patel was seen as Nitin in Morwenna Banks and Jo Brand’s Channel 4 sitcom “Damned,” alongside Jo Brand, Alan Davis, and Kevin Eldon. His other notable work includes the award-winning play “People, Places and Things,” (New York transfer) directed by Jeremy Herrin and starring Denise Gough; and “Don Juan in Soho,” directed by Patrick Marber and starring David Tennant and Adrian Scarborough. Patel served as associate producer on Sarmad Masud’s feature debut “My Pure Land,” having starred as Pavan in Sarmad’s short film “Two Dosas,” winner of Best Short Comedy at the London Short Film Festival 2015. Patel made his acting debut in 2007 in the role of Tamwar Masood in the hit BBC soap opera “EastEnders,” in which he appeared until 2016.
CLEMÉNCE POÉSY was last seen starring opposite Antonio Banderas in the second season of the acclaimed National Geographic series “Genius,” focusing on Pablo Picasso. Poésy, who speaks a number of languages fluently, has had memorable roles in a wide range of international film and television projects. Her credits include the female lead in the Franco-British series “The Tunnel”, pairing with Stephen Dillane; Stanley Tucci’s “Final Portrait,” alongside Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer; Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges,” with Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson; the romance “Last Love,” alongside Michael Caine; “127 hours,” under the direction of Danny Boyle; and the part of Fleur Delacour in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Poésy has also starred in several Italian films, including “Tito Il Piccolo,” directed by Paola Randi, and “7 Minuti,” from director Michele Placido. She will next be seen in Jonathan Jakubowicz’s “Resistance,” playing the female lead opposite Jesse Eisenberg, and in the French adaptation of the TV series “In Treatment.” Poésy made her directorial debut with the short film “For a Moment,” followed by “Les Démons Du Vent,” which premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and “Le coup des larmes,” which was selected for the 2019 Venice Film Festival and garnered numerous awards and nominations. She also wrote all three films. She is currently developing her first feature-length film.
MICHAEL CAINE (Crosby) is a two-time Academy Award-winning actor whose career has spanned six decades. He won his first Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, for his work in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters,” for which he also received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations. He took home his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Lasse Hallström’s “The Cider House Rules,” also winning a Screen Actors Guild Award and earning Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations. Some of his many other film credits include the iconic “The Italian Job,” Cy Endfield’s “Zulu”; “Alfie”; and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” alongside Steve Martin. Caine has also appeared in many of Christopher Nolan’s films, including “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Interstellar.” More recently, he starred in Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth”; “Going in Style,” alongside Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin; “Sherlock Gnomes,” with Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp; and in Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Caine has recently finished shooting Cassian Elwes’ next feature film, “Best Sellers,” as well as “Twist,” a modern retelling of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, alongside Lena Heady. He was most recently seen in “Come Away,” which premiered this year at Sundance, also starring Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo.
|KENNETH BRANAGH (Sator) is one of the world's most consistently acclaimed filmmakers and actors. He previously collaborated with Christopher Nolan, playing the crucial role of Commander Bolton in the epic "Dunkirk". Among his upcoming projects, Branagh will return to the role of Hercule Poirot and also direct Agatha Christie’s brilliant mystery “Death on the Nile,” the follow-up to his 2017 film "Murder on the Orient Express". Branagh recently directed “Artemis Fowl,” based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer. The film, which is now on Disney +, stars newcomer Ferdia Shaw as the title character, Lara McDonnell, Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Colin Farrell. He also starred in and directed the critically acclaimed film “All is True,” about William Shakespeare’s later years, also starring Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.|
In 2015, Branagh directed the critically acclaimed and box-office hit live-action “Cinderella,” starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, and Helena Bonham-Carter. Branagh previously directed the newest installment of the “Jack Ryan” franchise in 2014, in which he also starred alongside Chris Pine and Keira Knightley.
In 2011, Branagh played Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn,” opposite Michelle Williams and directed by Simon Curtis. The performance earned Branagh an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, as well as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. This marked Branagh’s fifth career Academy Award nomination, making him one of the first actors to receive five nominations in five separate categories: Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay, and Short. In addition, Branagh directed the blockbuster Marvel action adventure “Thor,” starring Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Chris Hemsworth. Released in May 2011, the film grossed more than $448 million worldwide.
Branagh's first venture into filmmaking met instant success. His 1989 production of “Henry V,” which he adapted from the Shakespeare and both starred in and directed, won a score of international awards, as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Director. He was subsequently invited to Hollywood to direct and act in “Dead Again,” a huge international hit, and next directed himself in the ensemble film “Peter’s Friends,” which won the Evening Standard Peter Sellers Award for Comedy. Branagh’s second Shakespearean film success as actor, director, writer and producer was “Much Ado About Nothing,” which was invited to screen at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, and the same year his short film of the Chekhov play “Swan Song” received an Academy Award nomination. He went on to direct Robert De Niro in the hit “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” and his black-and-white film “A Midwinter's Tale” opened the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Osello d’Oro at the Venice Film Festival. Branagh’s critically acclaimed full-length version of "Hamlet" in 70mm, received four Academy Award nominations. His fourth Shakespeare film adaptation was a 1930’s musical version of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” He later directed HBO Films’ “As You Like It,” a film of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute,” and “Sleuth,” written by Harold Pinter and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine.
His other film work includes acting roles in Pat O’Connor’s “A Month in the Country”; Oliver Parker’s “Othello”; Robert Altman’s “The Gingerbread Man”; Woody Allen’s “Celebrity”; Danny Boyle’s “Alien Love Triangle”; Paul Greengrass’s “The Theory of Flight”; Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Wild Wild West”; Philip Noyce’s “Rabbit Proof Fence”; “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”; the Richard Curtis’ comedy ”Pirate Radio”; and Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie.” Branagh has appeared in several outstanding television dramas, including as Detective Kurt Wallander in the BAFTA-winning series “Wallander,” which earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He also starred in the title role in ”Shackleton” for Channel 4; A&E’s “Conspiracy,” for which he won an Emmy for Best Actor and earned a Golden Globe nomination; and “Warm Springs,” in which he played FDR and was nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award. Branagh’s stage work began with his West End acting debut in “Another Country,” which earned him the Society of West End Theater’s Award for Most Promising Newcomer. He founded the Renaissance Theatre Company, for which he either starred in or directed the following works: “Twelfth Night,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet,” “Look Back in Anger,” “Uncle Vanya,” “King Lear,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Coriolanus” and “The Life of Napoleon.” He also wrote the plays “Public Enemy” and “Tell Me Honestly.”
Branagh’s numerous stage appearances include the RSC’s “Henry V,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “Hamlet.” His more recent theatrical endeavors include directing “Hamlet,” which starred Tom Hiddleston, as part of a fundraising campaign for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 2016, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company took up a year-long residency at London’s Garrick Theatre. The sold-out season began with “The Winter’s Tale,” with Branagh and Judi Dench; “Romeo and Juliet,” with Lily James, Richard Madden and Derek Jacobi; “Red Velvet,” with Adrian Lester; the comedy “The Painkiller,” with Branagh and Rob Brydon; and finished with John Osborne’s “The Entertainer,” with Branagh in the lead role.
Additionally, Branagh co-directed “Macbeth,” also playing the title role, for the Manchester International Festival in the summer of 2013. In June 2014, he reprised his role and again co-directed the production of “Macbeth,” marking his New York stage acting debut, at the Park Avenue Armory, which premiered to rave reviews and packed houses. His theatrical hits include directing the hit stage comedy “The Play What I Wrote,” which transferred from London’s West End to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination; as well as five-star performances on the British stage in “Richard III,” Mamet’s “Edmond,” “Ivanov,” and the new comedy “Painkiller,” in the opening season at the New Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Branagh’s hometown. Branagh is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal. He succeeded Lord Attenborough as President of RADA in the summer of 2015. He received the prestigious Michael Balcon Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), for outstanding contribution to cinema. In 2012, he received a Knighthood for his services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland. And Belfast awarded him with their Freedom of the City.
About the Filmmakers
|CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (Director/Writer/Producer) is an award-winning filmmaker who has been honored for his work as a director, writer and producer on a wide range of films. Nolan and his wife and producing partner, Emma Thomas, also helm their own production company, Syncopy. Born in London, Nolan began making movies at an early age with his father’s Super-8mm camera. While studying English Literature at University College London (UCL), he shot 16mm films at UCL’s film society, where he learned the guerrilla film techniques he would later use to make his first feature, “Following.” The noir thriller was recognized at a number of international film festivals prior to its theatrical release. Nolan first gained international attention with the 2000 independent feature “Memento,” which he directed from his own screenplay, based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan. Starring Guy Pearce, the film brought Nolan numerous honors, including Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay; Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay; and a DGA Award nomination. He subsequently directed the critically acclaimed psychological thriller “Insomnia,” starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank; and directed, co-wrote and produced the mystery thriller “The Prestige,” starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.|
Nolan went on to write, direct and produce the blockbuster “The Dark Knight” trilogy, beginning in 2005 with “Batman Begins,” starring Christian Bale in the title role. Three years later, the second film in the trilogy, “The Dark Knight,” was released to worldwide acclaim and went on to gross more than one billion dollars at the global box office. Nolan was nominated for Directors Guild of America (DGA), Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards for his work on the film, which also received eight Oscar nominations. Bringing the story to a close, 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” also earned more than one billion dollars worldwide. Also within the DC universe, Nolan served as a producer on the Superman film series reboot “Man of Steel,” directed by Zack Snyder, and released in 2013.
In 2010, Nolan captivated both critics and audiences with the sci-fi thriller “Inception,” which he directed and produced from his own original screenplay. The thought-provoking drama was a worldwide hit, earning more than $800 million and becoming one of the most talked-about films of the year. Among its many honors, “Inception” won four Academy Awards and received four more Oscar nominations, including two for Nolan, for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Nolan was also recognized by his peers with DGA Award and PGA Award nominations, and won a WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Nolan then wrote, directed and produced the 2014 science fiction dramatic thriller “Interstellar”, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck and Michael Caine. The widely praised film earned five Academy Award nominations and four BAFTA Award nominations, winning both the Oscar and BAFTA Award for Best Visual Effects. More recently, Nolan wrote, directed and produced the 2017 epic action thriller "Dunkirk", which grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide. The acclaimed film also received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning three Oscars for Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Among the film’s many other honors were eight BAFTA Award nominations, eight Critics’ Choice Award nominations, and three Golden Globe nominations, all including Best Picture and Best Director.
EMMA THOMAS (Producer) has produced a wide range of successful and critically acclaimed films. Together with her husband, Christopher Nolan, she also heads up their production company, Syncopy. She received an Oscar nomination as a producer on Nolan’s widely acclaimed 2010 sci-fi thriller “Inception,” with an international ensemble cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine. The film earned more than $800 million worldwide and also garnered numerous honors, including four Academy Awards and four more nominations, as well as four Golden Globe nominations and nine BAFTA Award nominations, all including Best Picture. Thomas also received a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award nomination. Thomas also produced Nolan’s blockbuster “The Dark Knight” trilogy, which earned almost $2.5 billion combined at the global box office. The trilogy began with the 2005 hit “Batman Begins,” starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. In 2008, “The Dark Knight” shattered box office records and received eight Academy Award nominations, winning four, and nine BAFTA Award nominations, among other honors. Thomas was honored with her first PGA Award nomination for her producing work on the film. She completed work on the trilogy in 2012 with “The Dark Knight Rises.”
In 2014, she produced Nolan’s science fiction action adventure “Interstellar,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, which took in more than $675 million worldwide. The film received five Oscar nominations, winning one. Thomas also served as a producer on Zack Snyder’s 2013 hit “Man of Steel.” Thomas most recently produced the acclaimed epic action thriller “Dunkirk,” which opened in Summer 2017 and earned more than $500 million globally. In addition, the film garnered eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning for Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing; and eight BAFTA Award nominations, eight Critics’ Choice Award nominations, and three Golden Globe nominations, all including Best Picture and Best Director.
Thomas studied at the prestigious University College London before beginning her career at Working Title Films in physical production. In 1996, she produced the independent feature “Following.” Shot on a shoestring budget and on weekends over the course of a year, the noir thriller captured the art of guerilla filmmaking at its best. Prior to its release, the film went on to gain recognition at film festivals around the world and received international distribution. Thomas then served as an associate producer on the internationally acclaimed independent film “Memento.” The film went on to win a number of awards, including an Independent Spirit Award, a British Independent Film Award, and several critics groups’ awards for Best Film. On the heels of this success, Thomas co-produced her first major studio release, the hit psychological thriller “Insomnia,” starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. Thomas also produced “The Prestige,” starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as two magicians whose jealous obsessions lead to tragedy and murder. The Nolan-directed film earned two Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.
THOMAS HAYSLIP (Executive Producer) film career has taken him to locations all over the globe as a producer, associate producer, unit production manager and production supervisor, working alongside such acclaimed directors as Christopher Nolan, Gore Verbinski, Kathryn Bigelow, James Gunn, Christopher McQuarrie, and Michael Mann. Most recently, Hayslip was a producer on “Jack Ryan: Season 2,” for Amazon, with John Krasinski, and J.C. Chandor’s film “Triple Frontier,” for Netflix. As co-producer on “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Hayslip spent over a year in the UK and Hawaii, creating the second installment of the “Jurassic World” franchise. Hayslip also served as UPM on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and associate producer/UPM on “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” Hayslip’s wide range of credits also includes such blockbusters as “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Fast & Furious 5,” “Inception,” the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and “The Lone Ranger.” His earlier film credits include “Ali,” “The Weight of Water,” “Brokedown Palace” and “Donnie Darko.”
Hayslip is currently prepping a Disney+ limited series.
HOYTE VAN HOYTEMA (Director of Photography) recently collaborated with director Christopher Nolan on the acclaimed epic action thriller “Dunkirk,” for which he received Oscar, BAFTA Award, and American Society of Cinematographers Award nominations. His first film with Nolan was the science fiction action adventure “Interstellar,” for which van Hoytema received a BAFTA Award nomination. He also earned recognition from numerous critics organizations for his work on both films. Van Hoytema began his career studying at the esteemed National Film School in Lodz, Poland. He went on to shoot several films, commercials, documentaries and TV series all over Europe, including Poland, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In 2008, van Hoytema’s cinematography for Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s critical masterpiece “Let the Right One In” earned him several international awards and caught the attention of other filmmakers. David O. Russell hired van Hoytema to lens his 2010 film “The Fighter.” The following year, van Hoytema re-teamed with Alfredson on “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” for which he was nominated for both the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and BAFTA Awards. Van Hoytema then shot Spike Jonze’s widely acclaimed virtual love story, “Her,” in 2013. He more recently served as the cinematographer on the 2015 Bond actioner “Spectre,” for director Sam Mendes, and the science fiction thriller “Ad Astra,” for director James Gray.
NATHAN CROWLEY (Production Designer) has earned five Academy Award nominations, including four for his work on Christopher Nolan films. He received his first Oscar nod for the period drama “The Prestige,” followed by nominations for the blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” “Interstellar” and recently, “Dunkirk.” He has also received four BAFTA Award nominations, for “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk.” In addition, Crowley garnered an Art Directors Guild (ADG) Award for “The Dark Knight,” as well as nominations for “Dunkirk,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Batman Begins” and “The Prestige.” He first teamed with Nolan on the director’s crime thriller “Insomnia.” Crowley earned his fifth Oscar nomination for his designs for Damien Chazelle’s true-life drama “First Man,” about Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. He was also recognized with BAFTA and ADG Award nominations and several critics groups’ award nominations for his work on the film.
Crowley received another ADG Award nomination for his design work on Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” His additional film credits include the musical “The Greatest Showman,” starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum; sci-fi adventure “John Carter”; the romantic drama “The Lake House”; the biopic “Veronica Guerin,” directed by Joel Schumacher; the war drama “Behind Enemy Lines”; and Barry Levinson’s Ireland-set comedy “An Everlasting Piece.” He previously served as an art director on such films as “Mission: Impossible II,” directed by John Woo; Richard Donner’s “Assassins”; Alan J. Pakula’s “The Devil’s Own”; and “Braveheart,” directed by and starring Mel Gibson. In addition to his film work, Crowley recently designed the pilot episode and served as the series concept production designer for HBO’s hit series “Westworld,” created for television by Jonathan Nolan. In 2017, Crowley won an ADG Award for his work on the show and also earned an Emmy Award nomination.
JENNIFER LAME (Editor) attended Wesleyan University, where she studied under documentary editor Jacob Bricca. Starting as an apprentice on films such as Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” and Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” Lame quickly ascended the ranks as a feature and television assistant editor. Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” was Lame’s first feature editing credit, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. She has since collaborated with Baumbach on his subsequent films, “While We’re Young,” “Mistress America” and “Meyerowitz Stories.” She most recently teamed with Baumbach on his acclaimed drama “Marriage Story,” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, for which Lame earned an American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Award nomination. In addition, Lame edited Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea,” for which she was nominated for an Eddie Award, a BAFTA Award and an Independent Spirit Award. She recently edited the horror thriller “Hereditary.”
JEFFREY KURLAND (Costume Designer) previously collaborated with Christopher Nolan on the director’s acclaimed epic action thriller “Dunkirk,” for which Kurland earned a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination, and the 2010 worldwide hit “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Kurland has devoted much of his career to designing the costumes for Woody Allen films. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design for the director’s “Bullets Over Broadway,” and won a BAFTA Award for his work on “Radio Days.” His collaborations with Allen also include “Everyone Says I Love You,” “Mighty Aphrodite,” “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” “Husbands and Wives,” “Shadows and Fog,” “Alice,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “New York Stories,” “Another Woman,” “September,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and “Broadway Danny Rose.” His other recent credits include Christopher McQuarrie’s actioner “Mission: Impossible - Fallout,” the sixth installment in the blockbuster franchise, starring Tom Cruise; “The Dictator,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen; Richard LaGravenese’s “Beautiful Creatures”; Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” starring George Clooney; and Paul Feig’s reboot of “Ghostbusters,” starring Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.
In addition, Kurland served as the costume designer on F. Gary Gray’s crime thriller “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Jamie Foxx; the adventure “Nim’s Island,” starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin; Andrew Fleming’s mystery adventure “Nancy Drew,” starring Emma Roberts in the title role; Stephen Hopkins’ supernatural thriller “The Reaping”; Michael Mann’s dramatic thriller “Collateral,” starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx; Joe Johnston’s action adventure “Hidalgo”; and the thriller “Criminal,” produced by Steven Soderbergh. He also worked with Soderbergh as the costume designer on the hit films “Ocean’s Eleven,” featuring an all-star cast, and “Erin Brockovich,” starring Julia Roberts, for which he earned a Costume Designers Guild Award. His earlier credits include Milos Forman’s “Man on the Moon,” Neil Jordan’s “In Dreams,” Richard LaGravenese’s “Living Out Loud,” P.J. Hogan’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” and the Nora Ephron films “This Is My Life” and “Mixed Nuts.” Kurland has served as governor on the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for going on 15 years, as the Academy’s first Vice President for three years and as Vice President for one year.
LUDWIG GÖRANSSON (Composer) has amassed an impressive list of credits in both the recording and motion picture industries, earning an Academy Award, multiple Grammy Awards and myriad other award nominations, in a career spanning only 10 years. He recently received his first Emmy Award nomination for his music for “The Mandalorian,” LucasFilm’s first “Star Wars” live-action streaming series. One of the cornerstones of Göransson’s career has been his partnership with director Ryan Coogler, whom he met when he scored his short film, “Locks” while they were students at the University of Southern California. Over the next nine years, Göransson would score all three of Coogler’s feature films. diverse filmography has allowed Göransson to show his range as a composer: writing understated melodies for “Fruitvale Station”; hyping up audiences for “Creed”; and infusing African percussion into his themes for “Black Panther.” His music for their latest collaboration earned Göransson an Oscar for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack, as well as multiple more awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination.
Göransson got his first big break writing music for the NBC television series “Community.” His work on the sitcom led to a friendship and collaboration with star Donald Glover, who also performs under the stage name Childish Gambino, on several studio albums, including Because the Internet and Awaken, My Love. Göransson has been nominated for six Grammys with Childish Gambino, winning two in 2019 for the Billboard Hot 100 Number One hit song, “This Is America,” which became a cultural phenomenon and garnered worldwide acclaim. Göransson has had success in several other films, including the box office smash, “Venom” and “Inner Workings.” He most recently co-wrote and co-produced the songs for “Trolls World Tour,” with Justin Timberlake, which exceeded expectations with its history-making digital release, racking up nearly $100 million in sales in just three weeks. This follows his unique score for “The Mandalorian,” which was helmed by director Jon Favreau. In addition to his score, Göransson released eight full-length albums, one album per episode, featuring recurring musical themes from throughout the season.
ANDREW JACKSON (Visual Effect Supervisor) earned Oscar nomination and BAFTA Award nominations for the visual effects in George Miller’s apocalyptic action hit “Mad Max: Fury Road.” He more recently received his second BAFTA Award nomination for his visual effects work on Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” He has also served as the visual effects supervisor on David Michôd’s “The King” and Alex Proyas’s “Knowing,” and the live-action portion of Miller’s “Happy Feet Two.” Additionally, Jackson was part of the VFX team on such films as “300” and “Fool’s Gold.”
SCOTT FISHER (Special Effects Supervisor) won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award as the special effects supervisor on Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” In addition to “Tenet,” he most recently served as the special effects supervisor on another hugely anticipated film: “Top Gun: Maverick,” due out next summer. His film credits as an SFX supervisor also include “Ad Astra,” “Bumblebee,” “Bright” and “Jason Bourne.” Fisher has also held the post of special effects coordinator on a long list of films, including “Dunkirk,” “Suicide Squad,” “The Nice Guys,” “The Hangover Part III,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “John Carter,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Inception,” “Bedtime Stories,” “Twilight,” “Blades of Glory,” “The Guardian,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “End of Days,” “Titanic” and “True Lies.” He has also been on the SFX teams of such films as “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “The Terminal,” “Hulk,” “Men in Black II,” “Minority Report,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” and “Batman Forever.”
GEORGE COTTLE (Stunt Coordinator) is currently working on the action adventure “Red Notice,” being directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. Cottle shared in two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award wins in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture, for the Christopher Nolan-directed “Inception” and “The Dark Knight,” also winning a World Stunt Award for the latter. In addition, he has received SAG Award nominations in the same category, for “The Dark Knight Rises,” “X-Men: First Class,” and, most recently, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” on which he was the stunt coordinator. His recent film credits as a supervising stunt coordinator or stunt coordinator also include “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” on which he also served as second unit director; “Black Panther”; “Spider-Man: Homecoming”; “Kong: Skull Island”; “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”; “Interstellar”; and “Zero Dark Thirty.” For the small screen, he was also the stunt coordinator on the pilot of “What We Do in the Shadows,” and the series “Hand of God.” Cottle has also performed on the stunt teams of many other films, including “John Carter,” as assistant stunt coordinator; the Harry Potter films “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”; “Munich”; “Batman Begins”; and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” to name only a portion. His recent TV work includes “True Detective” and “True Blood.
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