Prop master Michael Sexton has almost four decades of experience under his belt, yet Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” managed to present multiple firsts. A key scene in the blockbuster features a Boeing…
Prop master Michael Sexton has almost four decades of experience under his belt, yet Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” managed to present multiple firsts.
A key scene in the blockbuster features a Boeing 747 that Nolan purchased while location scouting in Victorville, Calif.
“It was pretty much one of the craziest things I’ve done in the 35 years I’ve been doing this,” Sexton says. “That airplane and getting the 747, and not having it on a gimbal or a green screen. He had this thing towed into and crashed into the filming as a live thing.”
There was no room for error during the heist sequence in which the back of the plane is blown off.
“I had my guys inside the plane, while we’re getting towed on the tarmac at about 20 miles per hour, the effects guys had to hit the button, blow the hole out of the back, and we had these gold bars on pallets that we had to push out the back,” Sexton says.
It’s not every day that prop masters get to travel to seven locations around the world, go on luxury yachts and add props to a real Boeing 747, but Nolan, who is renowned for his striking films, favors practical effects over CGI. In “Tenet,” Nolan goes bigger than ever before.
In this new video series, Variety Artisans presented by Hamilton Watches, Sexton explains being in charge of all items “the actors touch, pick up, handle and wear.”
Sexton says Nolan is “very clear as to what he wants, which for us, makes it easier because there are other directors out there who are wishy-washy about things and don’t give clear-cut direction.”
For the film, luxury brand Hamilton created a special edition of its existing Khaki Navy BelowZero watch. Nolan has always used watches in his films, but for this, in particular, Sexton says, “He wanted his blue team and red team to have these watches synchronized with the other props in the show.”
This episode of Variety Artisans is presented by Hamilton Watches