By Clark Collis
June 22, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.

How secretive has Christopher Nolan been about his new John David Washington-starring sci fi-thriller Tenet? When cast member Robert Pattinson met with Nolan about appearing in the movie, he didn't even know that's what he was meeting the Interstellar director about, and the Twilight and The Lighthouse actor remained in the dark throughout most of that initial encounter.

"I was in London at the beginning of last year and had kind of absolutely nothing going," Pattinson told EW in the course of an interview for this month's Tenet cover story. "So, I was panicking about that when out of nowhere there was a call to say, 'Do you want to come back to LA?' [I] went to meet him, and we kind of talked for three hours, and I have no idea what I’m meeting for, what the subject is. I was actually going back through his filmography to kind of try and predict what sort of genre he would go into next. And then, after hours of talking, he finally kind said in the last two minutes, 'So, I’ve been writing this thing and would you like to come back and read it?'"

Even so, Pattinson was concerned that he might have messed up his chances of working with Nolan, having committed what he feared was a chocolate-based faux pas.

"There was this pack of chocolates on the table," the actor said. "I had a massive blood sugar drop by the end of this conversation. I thought I was going to pass out because we’d been talking so much. I was trying to concentrate so much. Finally, I asked for one of the chocolates and he immediately ended the meeting. I was like, oh my god, I f---ed it up."

Pattinson, of course, hadn't messed things up and Nolan would subsequently cast him in the film, albeit in a role which, like so much about Tenet, remains shrouded in mystery.

"Rob plays a character called Neil in the film — or we think may be called Neil," said Nolan. "You never really quite know what’s going on with these identities. But he’s the very definition of a fantastic supporting character. He’s a very important character to this film, but he’s very much in support of John David’s character."

“We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places,” Nolan told EW last year. “We’re crossing a few different genres in a hopefully exciting and fresh way. [Producer] Emma [Thomas] and I have put together a lot of large-scale productions, but this is certainly the biggest in terms of international reach. We shot in seven countries, all over the place, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.”

The Tenet cast also includes Elizabeth DebickiAaron Taylor-JohnsonMichael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.

Tenet is set to hit theater on July 30.

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