Christopher Nolan reveals he recreated nuclear explosion without CGI for 'Oppenheimer'

The film stars Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer — an important figure in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb


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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Tue 13 Dec 2022, 10:23 AM

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has revealed that he recreated the first nuclear weapon detonation without any CGI effects, as part of the production for his new movie Oppenheimer.

According to Variety, an American media company, Nolan, who has always favoured practical effects over VFX, made the revelation about the film to Total Film magazine.

Oppenheimer stars long time Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer — a leading figure of the Manhattan Project and the creation the atomic bomb during World War II.

"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 said.

He added:

"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."


The filmmaker went on to call Oppenheimer a "story of immense scope and scale," adding:

"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 challenges, big practical challenges. But I had an extraordinary crew, and they really stepped up. It will be a while before we're finished, but 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," continued Nolan, as per Variety.

Nolan has assembled a highly-anticipated all-star cast for Oppenheimer. Joining Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr are Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich, David Krumholtz, Michael Angarano and Kenneth Branagh.

The project, which is set to release on July 21, 2023, is based on Pulitzer-winner American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005) by Kai Bird and the late Martin J Sherwin.

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