Christopher Nolan Created A Real Bomb For His New Movie

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Christopher Nolan

When you see Christopher Nolan’s name attached to a film, you know it will be a good movie. With a filmography that includes The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk, and Tenent, Nolan is well-known as one of the best filmmakers of the modern era, because audiences know that with his films comes a captivating story with mind-blowing special effects. Apparently, the same is true with Nolan’s newest film, Oppenheimer, where, according to Variety, the director opted to recreate a nuclear bomb rather than use CGI for the explosion.

Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan’s biopic of the scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his involvement in creating the atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Nolan is known for preferring practical effects over computerized effects in his films, and the director even blew up a real Boeing 747 for Tenet (2020). So, it is unsurprising that the Dunkirk director opted to recreate an atomic bomb rather than CGI the nuclear explosion.

In his interview with Variety, Christopher Nolan went over the challenges that were involved with recreating the Trinity test (the first nuclear weapon detonation, which took place in New Mexico) for real. The director described how he and his visual effects supervisor, Andrew Jackson, had to figure out the quantum physics and quantum dynamics of such a recreation, and detonate the explosion in perfect weather on a mesa in New Mexico. Despite the challenges, it seems that the team behind Oppenheimer was able to pull it off, as the practical bomb is what will appear in the final cut of the film.

The famous Trinity test explosion.

Christopher Nolan admitted that Oppenheimer has been one of the most intense projects the director has ever taken on, as the ambitious director had many practical effects he and his team needed to find ways to create safely. In addition to re-creating one of the world’s most infamous explosions, Nolan also encouraged IMAX to develop a new type of film for his movie. Kodak and FotoKem worked together to create a black-and-white IMAX film that Nolan used to shoot Oppenheimer, the first film of its kind.

From the practical bomb effects, to being the first movie to use the newly developed black-and-white IMAX film, Oppenheimer is a trailblazing film that focuses on a tragic event that changed the world forever. In addition to Christopher Nolan directing, Oppenheimer stars Nolan film alum Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer. Murphy previously worked with Nolan as Robert Fischer in Inception (2010) and Scarecrow in Batman Begins (2005).

Next to Murphy, Christopher Nolan has cast Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, and David Krumholtz as an unnamed character. Gary Oldman also joins the cast as the President who initiated the Manhattan Project, Harry S. Truman, and Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife, Kitty Oppenheimer.

In addition to directing the film, Christopher Nolan also wrote the script, basing it on books by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Oppenheimer will be released in theaters by Universal Pictures on July 21, 2023.