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In a world where CGI is the go-to for visual effects in film, director Christopher Nolan revealed that he went in a different direction for a sequence in his upcoming movie that saw the production crew destroy a real 747 airplane.

The director behind acclaimed movies like “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk” will drop his latest film, “Tenet,” a science-fiction spy thriller, in July. The release date makes it one of the first major summer blockbuster releases since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered countless theaters across the country. Despite the risky timing, Nolan is currently promoting the movie by revealing that a major stunt involving the destruction of a 747 in an airport hanger was done with practical effects rather than CGI. In other words, he really destroyed a plane.

“I planned to do it using miniatures and set-piece builds and a combination of visual effects and all the rest,” Nolan tells Total Film (via Gamesradar).


However, once the filmmaker did some scouting and found a massive array of old planes in Victorville, Calif., he got an idea.

Christopher Nolan revealed that he used practical effects for a major stunt in his latest film ‘Tenet.’

“We started to run the numbers… It became apparent that it would actually be moe efficient to buy a real plane of the real size, and perform this sequence for real in camera, rather than build miniatures or go the CG route,” he said.

While plot details for the film are scarce, Nolan has made a name for himself by rejecting CGI where most directors would include it. Notably, he drew praise in 2010 for constructing a full hallway that could rotate upside down in order to shoot a fight scene for “Inception” rather than relying on CGI or wires. However, it seems that stunt was a small feat compared to the on-camera destruction of a massive 747.


“It’s a strange thing to talk about – a kind of impulse buying, I suppose,” adds Nolan. “But we kind of did, and it worked very well, with Scott Fisher, our special-effects supervisor, and Nathan Crowley, the production designer, figuring out how to pull off this big sequence in camera. It was a very exciting thing to be a part of.”

Robert Pattinson, who co-stars in “Tenet,” marveled at the practical effect, telling Total film: “You wouldn’t have thought there was any reality where you would be doing a scene where they just have an actual 747 to blow up! It’s so bold to the point of ridiculousness… I remember, as we were shooting it, I was thinking, ‘How many more times is this even going to be happening in a film at all?’”

Parts of the plane sequence were teased in the latest trailer for “Tenet” released by Warner Bros.

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