Tenet's Editor on How She Got Over Being 'Intimidated' by the Film's Intense Action Scenes

Someone’s gonna start chasing them any second now.
Someone’s gonna start chasing them any second now.
Image: Warner Bros.

Editing any big-budget movie is a challenge, but Tenet’s editor faced two major hurdles. Not only was her background in indie dramas, not blockbusters, but director Christopher Nolan was calling it “the hardest movie any editor has ever had to cut.” Jennifer Lame is sharing how she got over the hump and found the story inside the chase scenes.

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In an interview with ICG Magazine—via IndieWire—Lame said Nolan brought her onboard to edit Tenet, the time-bending movie to possibly end all time-bending movies (whenever it comes out, that is). This was their first project together, and one that was outside of Lame’s comfort zone. She’s worked on several films over the years but most of them are indie dramas, like Manchester by the Sea and Marriage Story, and Tenet was in a whole new league for the editor. It didn’t help that Nolan, on their first day, was warning her that she was taking on one of the biggest challenges of any editor’s career—maybe jokingly, but also not really!

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“I joked with her when she first came on that this might be the hardest movie any editor has ever had to cut, and I’m not sure she would dispute that right now [laughs],” Nolan said. “Working out all the aspects of portraying time running in different directions meant going beyond what was down on the page, as the execution lay with a successful translation of the visual.”

Lame said while she enjoyed editing the dialogue scenes and “quieter moments” in Tenet, she admits to getting “slightly intimidated” by the action scenes. To solve this dilemma, she worked to find the story within the action. This was partially thanks to Nolan himself, who guided her in understanding the larger purpose of the chase sequences and fight scenes.

“The films I have worked on up until this have been more character-driven, so I enjoyed getting more intimate scenes to cut,” Lame said. “I found myself spending more time on the quieter moments and perhaps slightly intimidated by the action. To get over that, I began to think of action as also driving the story forward, explaining, and fleshing out the character’s journey. When Chris saw I was intimidated by the action sequences, he reiterated this point; the story was always the driving force.”

Tenet exists in a space outside of reality and will probably come out when the time-loop that is our world resets itself. Or, in some parts of the world, August 26. Maybe?

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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