You know when somebody’s quest for realism maybe goes too far? Well, we could be there. We have potentially achieved peak-Christopher Nolan. His upcoming movie Oppenheimer will recreate the first nuclear weapon detonation without CGI.
This is like when he blew up a real 747 in Tenet all over again. In an interview with Total Film he had this to say for himself:
“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.”
Nolan is working with his favorite cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema again and, as long time pioneers of the tech, they talked IMAX into creating a new kind of film stock for Oppenheimer:
“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 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 movie is in color, so the black and white is possibly to be used for impact or for flashbacks, in a similar way to Nolan’s use in previous movies.
Cillian Murphy stars as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the leading figure in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. Universal Pictures will release Oppenheimer in cinemas on July 21st 2023, and then we will see just how crazy Nolan really is.