To the Warner Bros. TENET Marketing Department,
Christopher Nolan wrote an Op-Ed in March about the social responsibility of supporting local theatres. A cinematic champion, the director received his fair share of criticism trying to promote moviegoing during the pandemic. I think most people detect that this is a director who makes movies and doesn’t sell them, but he has a history of being involved in the marketing of his films and writing characters who preach social responsibility. As Matthew McConaughey says in Interstellar: “Mask up.” The idea was there before the pandemic started when we got used to seeing Tom Hardy behind a mask. The question is why doesn’t Warner Bros. offer promotional mask swag similar to the masks we expect to see in the film? It’d be the perfect way for patrons to play nice with Hollywood while trying to obey social distancing. For me personally that would also mean no concessions or parties greater than 1, but I understand those choosing to go out for leisure during a deadly virus might find that unreasonable.
Masks are woven into the DNA of Christopher Nolan films. In Memento, Guy Pearce played a detective who wears a mask while failing to socially distance from Joe Pantoliano to disastrous results. Both Al Pacino and Robin Williams hide behind their masks as authority and author respectively in Insomnia, with the former going all the way to Alaska to escape the L.A. epicenter. As Christian Bale and Katie Holmes sum up in Batman Begins. It’s not who you are underneath [the mask] but what you do that defines you. If Nolan wants to unite people of all kinds to help finance his films he has to encourage people to be active participants and put on the mask themselves. Christian Bale accepts the social responsibility of wearing a mask, allowing him to survive The Prestige. Heck, even the anarchic Joker understood the importance of wearing literal masks. Finally in Dunkirk, it allows Tom Hardy to breathe long enough to be a hero. I’m sure there are better examples but you get my point. Having a mask is integral to the Christopher Nolan Cinematic Experience (CNCE).
Imagine if you will, seeing millions of masks with the TENET logo on it. It’d bring an unparalleled level of awareness to the film and the seriousness of COVID that some people just can’t or won’t otherwise understand. With the help of Nolan, we can make masks cool again and have their integrity through connection to a popular film become apart of the vital part of the social experience that Nolan intended. The facilities are there that weren’t there six months ago and it would be controversial but beneficial to Warner Bros. to bring us safely as possible through the unshakeable dream we cannot wake up from while maintaining the core beliefs of the CNCE.
For the record, if you see me at the movies, do as Michael Caine does in The Dark Knight Rises, don’t say hello or go near me, simply nod, move on and maybe appreciate if this is all over.