Christopher Nolan says 'The Spy Who Loved Me' inspired much of his work including 'Tenet'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read
Christopher Nolan has expressed his admiration for 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. (Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty)
Christopher Nolan has expressed his admiration for 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. (Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty)

Christopher Nolan says he has spent his whole career “trying to get back” to the way he felt when he saw James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me on the big screen.

The filmmaker said during the press conference for his time-bending new spy adventure Tenet that he believes watching the 1977 Roger Moore thriller has inspired much of his style.

“I try not to watch it too often but when I've watched it recently — I showed it to my kids for example — you can tap back into that early experience,” the 50-year-old said.

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“I think I was about seven years old when I saw it. I went with my dad to the cinema to see it.

“What I remember and what I've tried to retain from that experience is the feeling of possibility, that you could jump through that screen and go anywhere in the world and see the most amazing things.

James Bond's amphibious Lotus Esprit appeared in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
James Bond's amphibious Lotus Esprit appeared in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

“It had such scale and such possibilities really. It was pure escapism, with an excellent fantasy component to it as well with the car that turns into a submarine and all that stuff.”

Read more: Roger Moore’s best Bond one-liners

Much like a Bond adventure, Tenet is a globe-trotting espionage story in which the characters clock up serious air miles on the hunt for a maniacal villain.

Nolan’s love of Bond is well-publicised and he is often spoken about as a potential future director for the franchise.

He said The Spy Who Loved Me has had a huge impact on his career and that its energy helped to drive Tenet, and indeed all of his movies.

John David Washington and Christopher Nolan on the set of 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
John David Washington and Christopher Nolan on the set of 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Nolan said: “I think I've spent a lot of my career trying to get back to that feeling and trying to give that feeling to audiences.

“[I want to] take you back to that sense of wonderment about the possibilities of what movies can do and where they can take you.”

Read more: Nolan reveals Tenet set was one of biggest ever

Nolan revealed that some of the ideas and devices that are present in Tenet have been percolating in his mind for decades and that many have bled into his previous work.

He described Tenet’s twisty script as “taking the spy genre and really trying to use it as a vehicle for taking the audience on this journey through all of these bizarre concepts of time”.

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in a still from Tenet. (Warner Bros.)
John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in a still from Tenet. (Warner Bros.)

“What I was doing was trying to construct as engaging a spy story as possible,” he added.

“[The period of writing] was spent trying to reconcile the peculiarities of construction that were required in the script to explain the concepts of time with the thrill ride, the relatively straightforward experience for the audience of just being on a ride, stepping into the shoes of The Protagonist and going on that ride all around the world with him.”

Read more: Pattinson teases enormous Tenet set pieces

Tenet has delayed its release several times in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the film is now set to be the first blockbuster since cinemas in Britain opened their doors.

The film stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh.

Tenet is in UK cinemas from 26 August, with its US release due on 3 September in the cinemas that are able to open.