Tenet has fewer visual special effects than most rom-coms, says Christopher Nolan

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Christopher Nolan has always preached using practical effects over CGI – with everything from Inception’s room-spinning fights to flipping a literal truck in The Dark Knight (opens in new tab) all being done without the aid of special effects. Even with that background, Tenet is still surprisingly light on VFX according to a new interview with Nolan and the movie’s editor, Jennifer Lame.

“The visual side of the film is huge in scale, but our VFX shot count is probably lower than most romantic comedies,” Christopher Nolan revealed to ICG Magazine (opens in new tab) (H/T Collider (opens in new tab)). Lame also said there are roughly fewer than 300 VFX shots in the entire movie.

When you take into consideration the movie’s hook – time inversion which can even send cars reversing back in real-time – as well as Nolan buying a 747 and crashing it for real (opens in new tab), that’s some feat. Even if it means you’ll probably be trying to figure out where the visual effects budget is going the next time you watch Bridget Jones’ Diary.

“Visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson was responsible for coming up with our safety net,” added Nolan of the practical process. “We wanted it all in-camera, but if it couldn’t be done, what choices are there in post-production? I like to say Andrew kind of bid himself out of a job because he helped us achieve such an enormous amount practically.”

For Nolan’s next trick, the director is aiming to release Tenet later this month – in some regions. The time-bending thriller starring John David Washington is set for August 26 in 70 countries. The U.S. is still on track to get it a week later on September 3, while it will release in China on September 4.

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.