Robert Pattinson talks Tenet: "I basically went straight from Chris Nolan’s movie into The Batman"

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Tenet is incoming! Christopher Nolan's time-inverting spy thriller reaches UK cinemas this week – US theatres next – and we're celebrating by putting Total Film's exclusive cover feature online. As part of that, the team interviewed Robert Pattinson, who spoke about the new movie. Here's our interview with the actor – and be sure to read the cover feature here.

Total Film: Did your experience on The Lighthouse help you prepare for lockdown life? 

Pattinson: [laughs] I mean, the thing is, on every single movie, there’s so much time just pacing around hotel rooms. I’m definitely quite well trained for it.

What was the process for landing this role?

Incredibly mysterious. It was totally under the radar. I got a call saying, “Do you want to meet with Chris in three days for something?” I had no information about anything. I went around to Chris’ house, and we had a lovely chat. I kept sort of wondering... is this about a project? [laughs] It must have gone for about three hours without a single mention of why we were doing the meeting. And then at the end, he said, “So, I’ve been working on this thing. Would you like to read it?” I went, “Yes! Yes! I want to read it now!” [laughs] I didn’t even know what it was called. I just thought it was phenomenal. I didn’t even know what character I was reading for [laughs].

How did you find it working with the practical effects?

There’s only about 280 VFX shots, which is absolutely nothing. And so when we were shooting it, the scope of some of the stunt and action sequences is so ridiculous. It’s perfect for an actor, because you don’t really have to act. [laughs] There’s this fun thing that Chris does as well where there’s an enormous amount of organisation to everything, but then when we’re shooting it, you still sort of shoot it like a run-and-gun indie. The pace of the shooting is so quick that it feels quite wild when you’re doing it.

Is it true you found out you landed The Batman during the first day on Tenet?

The first day, yeah. The morning of the first day. It was kind of insane. It was a very, very intense weekend. That was a crazy way to start Chris’ film. [laughs] I think I was doing the screen test, as well, on the Saturday before I started.

How was filming going on The Batman before the production pause? Was it living up to your expectations?

Yeah. We’d really gotten into a really good rhythm as well, so it’s kind of strange to
be pausing. But, again, it’s a hard movie. I mean, obviously it’s Batman, so it’s kind
of nice. [laughs] I basically went straight from Chris’ movie into that. And, yeah,
I was feeling a little bit loopy anyway. So having some time off is not the worst thing in the world. But hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later that everything is hopefully in a better place.

Tenet reaches UK cinemas on August 26 and US theatres on September 4. Before then, make sure you read up on our celebration of Inception's ending. This piece was originally in Total Film – never miss another feature by subscribing here.

Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.