Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer features practical recreation of atomic blast

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Christopher Nolan has been discussing the challenge of recreating a real nuclear explosion for his new film, Oppenheimer.

One of Christopher Nolan’s signature elements as a filmmaker remains his practical action sequences. It doesn’t matter whether he’s blowing up buildings for real or building giant revolving corridors to stage fight sequences in, Nolan’s insistence on using practical effects has a habit of paying off.

The filmmaker is at it again, telling Total Film that in Oppenheimer – his next film – he wanted to recreate an atomic explosion without the use of computer effects. Like everything Nolan and his teams aim for, it took painstaking attention to detail and lots of preparation. “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”, he confessed.

No shit.

Nolan talks in the interview about how visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson was brought on board the film very, very early, with the challenge of practically “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”.

Nolan’s technical experimentation also extended to working with Kodak to produce a new kind of IMAX film too. It meant that he could shoot in IMAX in black and white, and Nolan describes the results as “thrilling and extraordinary”.

Production is ongoing on Oppenheimer but it looks like Nolan is continuing to technically innovate in a number of ways. Given that it’s one of the defining hallmarks of his work, would we really expect anything else? Oppenheimer is due to be released in July of next year courtesy of Universal Pictures.

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