Christopher Nolan recreated nuclear explosion without CGI

‘Oppenheimer’: Christopher Nolan reveals he recreated nuclear explosion without CGI

The director went on to say that he and the film's cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema, were successful in procuring a specially made IMAX film stock.

credit: warner bros. pictures

The internet was flooded with memes about how Christopher Nolan would prefer detonating a real nuclear bomb given his penchant for realism in his action set pieces when he revealed that his upcoming movie was based on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist who developed the first atomic bomb for the U.S. government. The joke appears to have partially been realised.

Nolan disclosed that he recreated the Trinity test for Oppenheimer without the use of computer graphics in a recent interview with Total Film magazine. "I believe it was a very difficult task to attempt to recreate the Trinity test without the aid of computer graphics. With my team, I recreated Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, much of which was needed for the film because of the extremely harsh conditions there. Andrew Jackson, my visual effects supervisor, 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.

The director referred to the movie as one of the most difficult projects he had ever undertaken and gave tribute to his exceptional staff for rising to the occasion. "In terms of its scope and the depth of Oppenheimer's tale, it's one of the most difficult undertakings I've ever undertaken. There were significant practical and logistical difficulties. But I had a fantastic crew, and they went above and above. We won't be done for quite some time. I am, however, really proud of what my team has accomplished as I see the results come in and as I put the film together.

The director explained in the interview that he and Hoyte van Hoytema, a longtime collaborator, were able to obtain a specially produced film stock from IMAX for the cinematography of Oppenheimer. "We pushed the Kodak Photochem team to find a way to make this work for us. And they took action. We were able to capture IMAX film in black and white for the first time ever. And the outcomes were astounding and exhilarating. We really knew that this was a format that we were instantly in love with as soon as Hoyte and I saw the initial testing come in," stated Nolan.

Cillian Murphy plays the lead role of the titular physicist in Oppenheimer. Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Gary Oldman, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, James D'Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, and Casey Affleck are among the ensemble cast members of the movie.

The Universal Pictures film is set to release in theaters on July 21, 2023

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