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The Bizarre Rule Christopher Nolan Imposes On His Movie Sets

Christopher Nolan has a really weird rule for all of his actors on his movie sets.

Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman, who have both collaborated with the famed British director, sat down from a distance for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series and discussed what it's like to work with Nolan, with Hathaway spilling a pretty bizarre detail about one of Nolan's rules.

As Hathaway recalled to Jackman, after two projects with Nolan — 2012's The Dark Knight Rises and 2014's Interstellar — she learned that the director forbids both cell phones and sitting: "He doesn't allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they're sitting, they're not working. I mean, he has these incredible movies in terms of scope and ambition and technical prowess and emotion. It always arrives at the end under schedule and under budget. I think he's onto something with the chair thing."

Hathaway also remembered that he wanted her to get in impeccable physical shape for The Dark Knight Rises for a very specific reason. According to Hathaway, Nolan told her, "When we did Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt trained for 12 weeks to do a four-day stunt sequence because he wanted to do every shot. I want you to do as much of the stunt work as you can. I need you to be strong enough to do that. I can't have you be one of those actors that does one take, two takes and then you're too tired. I want you to do everything."

Ultimately, Nolan's ethos drove Hathaway to push herself; as she recalled, "That was what he told me to get me to embrace the physical side of the character."

Christopher Nolan's newest movie is still shrouded in mystery

Audiences will be able to keep Nolan's intense on-set rule in mind when they watch his latest project, Tenet — though, at this point, Tenet's future remains uncertain as movie theaters remain closed. Nolan, who is obviously very specific about everything from his performers on set to how he creates some of his more stupefying practical stunts, has insisted that Tenet be seen in a movie theater, but as the COVID-19 crisis continues, it seems unlikely that Tenet will be in theaters any time soon.

As countries across the world still try to flatten the curve and slow the spread of coronavirus, movie theaters — which, as enclosed spaces where people don't usually sit six feet apart, are a perfect breeding ground for the virus — Tenet's release is a huge question mark, leaving audiences in the dark as to its many mysteries. Almost nothing is known about Nolan's latest film; even John David Washington (Denzel's talented son who appeared in Spike Lee's acclaimed 2018 film BlacKkKlansman), the lead in the film, is only billed as "The Protagonist."

As of this writing, Tenet is scheduled for release on August 12, 2020, after being shifted back several times. However much remains uncertain, one thing is for sure: none of the actors in Tenet spent their time sitting around on Nolan's set.