Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Debuts First Trailer

Christopher Nolan unveiled the first look at “Tenet,” his international espionage action epic starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson.

Though little is known about Nolan’s suspense drama, “Tenet” appears to bend time. The intense footage opens with Washington and Pattinson scaling a building. The mission appears to go awry as the trailer cuts to Washington in a hospital bed with Martin Donovan’s character standing over him.

“We all believe we’d run into the burning building. But until we feel that heat, we can never know,” Donovan’s character tells Washington’s. “You do. You chose to die instead of giving up your colleagues. That test you passed? Not everybody does. Welcome to the afterlife.”

Washington, playing a gun-toting detective of sorts, is then tasked with a perplexing case.

“To do what I do, I need some idea of the threat we face,” Washington says, to which Clemence Poesy’s character responds, “As I understand it, we’re trying to prevent World War III.”

Nolan wrote and directed “Tenet” and will use a mix of Imax and 70mm film to bring the story to the big screen. Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kenneth Branagh round out the cast.

The filmmaker described the movie to Entertainment Weekly as the “most ambitious film we’ve made.”

“We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places,” Nolan said. “We’re crossing a few different genres in a hopefully exciting and fresh way. We shot in seven countries, all over the place, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.”

“Tenet” hits theaters on July 17, 2020.

Robert Pattinson Talks “Batman,” “The Lighthouse” and “Tenet”:

More Film

  • Under the Stars of Paris

    Claus Drexel on 'Under the Stars of Paris,' and Prostitution Documentary 'The Amazons'

    One of the widest-selling titles at the UniFrance Rendez-Vous, a showcase of French cinema that wraps Monday, is Claus Drexel’s “Under the Stars of Paris.” The French-German speaks to Variety about the pic and his upcoming prostitution documentary “The Amazons.” “Under the Stars of Paris” centers on a homeless woman – played by Catherine Frot [...]

  • Farewell Movie 2019

    Five Reasons 'The Farewell' Flopped In China

    “The Farewell” has flopped in China with a dismal $261,000 opening weekend gross, and a cumulative of $580,000 so far, once again proving the difficulty of creating content that resonates equally on both sides of the Pacific — even when a story is set in China, features Chinese talent, and unfolds primarily in Mandarin. Although [...]

  • Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic

    Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic Adventure,' Upcoming Feature Debut 'Feu de Paille'

    “The Atomic Adventure,” a contender in UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilmFestival, is the third short from Loïc Barché (“Goliath,” “Le Commencement”). Variety talked to the director about the short, and his feature debut “Feu de Paille.” “The Atomic Adventure,” produced by young French outfits Punchline Cinéma and Leonis Productions, is set in 1961 in Algeria, where France [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    How 'Bad Boys for Life' Escaped the Franchise Revival Curse

    Sony’s “Bad Boys” franchise proved a 17-year gap between installments means little for the right property. “Bad Boys for Life,” reuniting stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as drug-busting cops, beat expectations and debuted to a stellar $68 million in North America over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The action comedy now stands [...]

  • Tony Hall, Director General of the

    Frontrunners Emerge as BBC Boss Tony Hall Set to Leave Broadcasting Behind

    As the U.K. industry reacts to news of Tony Hall’s intention to depart the BBC this July, top-level executives including Charlotte Moore and Tim Davie as well as external contenders such as Channel 4’s Alex Mahon are beginning to emerge. Variety understands that Lord Hall, who has headed the BBC for seven years as director [...]

  • The Isle of the Dead

    UniFrance Puts Spotlight on Emerging French VR Sector at Rendez-Vous

    France has a burgeoning eco-system of virtual reality and augmented reality producers, and is one of Europe’s leading VR/AR hubs. The UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, a showcase of French projects that wraps Monday, included a VR/AR showcase, with recent projects demonstrated by Wide Management VR, VRrOOm and Atlas V. UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilm [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content