Christopher Nolan recreates nuclear weapon detonation without VFX for Oppenheimer- Cinema express


As reported earlier, Christopher Nolan’s next is based on nuclear physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the US Government’s Manhattan Project which was involved in developing the atomic bomb. He was universally regarded as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. The film has Cillian Murphy playing the titular role.

As part of the film’s production, Christopher Nolan, who is known for keeping things real, recreated the first nuclear weapon detonation without CGI effects. The filmmaker has always favoured practical effects over VFX. It is worth a mention that he blew up a real Boeing 747 for his last film, Tenet.

“I think recreating the Trinity test (the first nuclear weapon detonation, in New Mexico) without the use of computer graphics was a huge challenge to take on,” Nolan was quoted as saying by Variety.

“Andrew Jackson—my visual effects supervisor, I got him on board early on—was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreating, with my team, Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film, in terms of the very harsh conditions out there—there were huge practical challenges,” Nolan added.

Nolan also called Oppenheimer a ‘story of immense scope and scale’. He said, “It’s one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the scale of it and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer’s story. There were big, logistical and practical challenges. I had an extraordinary crew, and they really stepped up. It will be a while before we’re finished. Certainly, as I watch the results come in, and as I’m putting the film together, I’m thrilled with what my team has been able to achieve.”

Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who worked with Nolan in Interstellar, Dunkirk, and Tenet, is reuniting with him once again Oppenheimer. The two managed to get IMAX to create a new kind of film stock for them. Speaking about the same, Nolan shared, “We challenged the people at Kodak Photochem to make this work for us. And they stepped up. For the first time ever, we were able to shoot an IMAX film in black and white. And the results were thrilling and extraordinary. As soon as Hoyte and I saw the first tests come in, we just knew that this was a format that we were immediately in love with.”

The star-studded cast of Oppenheimer also includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Gary Oldman, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, James D’Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck. The film is set to arrive in cinemas on July 21, 2023.

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