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Christopher Nolan on making Tenet: “This is definitely the longest I’ve ever gone without watching a James Bond film”

Christopher Nolan and John David Washington on set of Tenet.
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Christopher Nolan has made no secret of his adoration for the James Bond movies (opens in new tab). The director has been linked to directing almost every recent 007 feature, yet there's still no sign of a Nolan-helmed Bond picture. 

However, that love of the spy genre flows through Tenet. However, Nolan's been trying his best not to watch any movies that may overtly influence him. 

“Interestingly, this is one of the first films I’ve ever made where we didn’t do any screenings,” he tells our sister publication Total Film (opens in new tab), referring to the screenings he normally puts on for cast and crew before shooting. “And the reason was, I think we all have the spy genre so in our bones and in our fingertips. I actually wanted to work from a memory and a feeling of that genre, rather than the specifics.”

He continues:  “This is definitely the longest period of time I’ve ever gone in my life without watching a James Bond film. My love of the spy genre comes from the Bond franchise, and the Bond character very specifically. I know as much about the Bond films as Alan Partridge does. 

"It’s totally in my bones. I don’t need to reference the movies and look at them again. It’s about trying to re-engage with your childhood connection with those movies, with the feeling of what it’s like to go someplace new, someplace fresh. It actually has to take them somewhere they haven’t been before, and that’s why no one’s ever been able, really, to do their own version of James Bond or something. It doesn’t work. And that’s not at all what this is. This is much more my attempt to create the sort of excitement in grand-scale entertainment I felt from those movies as a kid, in my own way.”

Tenet adorns the cover of the new Total Film magazine (here's a pre-order link (opens in new tab)), which includes extended interviews with Nolan, Pattinson, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kenneth Branagh. Total Film subscribers (opens in new tab) will get an exclusive cover featuring John David Washington's protagonist, and the newsstand cover features Washington and Robert Pattinson. Check them out below.

Total Film's Tenet subscribers' cover

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Total Film)

Total Film's Tenet cover

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Total Film)

The issue is available in shops from Friday, and will also be available digitally for your tablet from wherever you get your digital mags. You can start a Total Film subscription beginning with issue 299 (the Tenet issue) by heading to MyFavouriteMagazines (opens in new tab).

Tenet is scheduled to open in cinemas on July 17, 2020.

Jack Shepherd
Jack Shepherd

I'm the Senior Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features. Plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials media channels. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film