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Christopher Nolan recreated first atomic bomb test without CGI

Oppenheimer is going back to practical effects! In a recent interview, Christopher Nolan reveals how he recreated the first atomic bomb test without using CGI

Christopher Nolan recreated first atomic bomb test without CGI

When it comes to mass explosions in action movies or the big stunts seen in superhero movies, CGI has become Hollywood’s go-to. However, one of the most anticipated 2023 movies, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, decided to step away from digital techniques and take a more practical approach.

Oppenheimer is the drama movie that tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer – the real-life theoretical physicist who is credited as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. The upcoming flick will detail the man’s life and how his creations would lead to the deadliest weapon of World War 2. In an interview with Total Film (via Games Radar), Nolan revealed that filming scenes involving the atomic bomb were challenging and also done without CGI.

“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,” explains Nolan.

“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 isn’t surprising that Oppenheimer is a monumental task. The upcoming film is not only detailing a historic life story but also has a production budget of $100 million and an equal marketing budget too. In short, it is massive, and Nolan has to meet sky-high expectations from the studio as well as fans.

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“It’s a story of immense scope and scale,” Nolan said. “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,” he continued. “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.”

Oppenheimer hits theatres on July 21, 2023. For more top picks, here is our list of the best spy movies of all time.