Tenet Star John David Washington Breaks Silence Over "Disheartening" Delays

Tenet leading man John David Washington admits it's "disheartening" seeing the Christopher Nolan-directed spy thriller suffer from a series of delays, which pushed the summer tentpole from a July to September release in U.S. theaters. Once set to usher in the long-delayed moviegoing season in July, Warner Bros. reconfigured its plans for Tenet when continued theater closures forced a move from July 17 to July 31. Following another shift to August 12 and an indefinite postponement, Tenet secured a late August international release alongside a staggered debut in select U.S. theaters starting September 3.

"I mean, I'm human. I put everything into this film," Washington told Mr. Porter. "You think it's going to happen and they keep pushing it back. That can be disheartening. But it's like your child. You want to send it to the best school, even if you have to wait a semester."

Tenet remains shrouded in secrecy. Just as mysterious is Washington's character, referred to only as "The Protagonist" in the film's official synopsis, someone the actor describes as "a man of great integrity, a man I admire, a man who is ready to give his life for the people he is fighting with."

The Protagonist uses a technique called "inversion" to reverse the flow of time, something the sharp-dressed Protagonist clarifies is "not time travel." Armed only with the word "Tenet," Washington's hero fights to prevent World War III by journeying "through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time."

Promised to be a twisty mind-bender, Nolan has reaffirmed that Tenet is not a "time travel film," but one that "deals with time." Washington previously admitted the film's original concept, and its twisty story, left him questioning Nolan "every day."

"Every day I had questions for him. But he was very gracious, and he answered them very calmly and patiently," Washington said during a May event hosted by Fortnite. "It was important that the actors could track the story correctly so we could tell it the best way we could, and he was very patient with us. I say that very politely [laughs]."

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Describing the latest ambitious project from the Dark Knight and Interstellar director, Washington added, "We're familiar with his films, but this seems like something different. Seems like this is where he's about to take us for the next 10, 15 years of filmmaking."

Also starring Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh, Tenet opens internationally in 70 territories on August 26 before reaching select U.S. theaters September 3.