Christopher Nolan Says Nuclear Detonation In Oppenheimer Was Done Without CGI

Christopher Nolan, the practical specialist, has once again demonstrated that he is the embodiment of his title. As in his upcoming feature Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan had to get creative in order to show the audience a nuclear explosion without sending the sequence to Weta Digital or Industrial Light & Magic and having them press a button and generate it on their laptops.

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. 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.

It’s a story of immense scope and scale. And 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.

According to the director, despite the enormous hurdles posed by the project’s scope, they wished to zero on this character.

We’re trying to tell the story of somebody’s life, and their journey through personal history and larger-scale history and so the subjectivity of the story is everything to me. We want to view these events through Oppenheimer’s eyes. And that was the challenge for Cillian that I set him, to take us on this journey; that was the challenge for Hoyte van Hoytema (cinematographer), my designer, my whole team: how do we view this extraordinary story through the eyes of the person who was at the heart of it? All of our decisions on how to make this film were based on that real premise.

Christopher Nolan Told Total Film

Exclusive Look at Oppenheimer

The release date of Oppenheimer is set for July 21st, 2023.

Read: Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” IMAX Trailer Debuts Before Avatar 2 Screening

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