Christopher Nolan Addresses Speculation on Detonation of Real Bomb in ‘Oppenheimer’ Film: ‘Flattering,’ But ‘Scary’

Christopher Nolan Addresses Speculation of Real Bomb Detonation on Set of “Oppenheimer”

Renowned director Christopher Nolan has responded to rumors suggesting that he detonated a genuine atomic bomb during the filming of his upcoming movie, “Oppenheimer.” While flattered by the assumption that he would be capable of such an extreme feat, Nolan also finds it a little unsettling. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he acknowledged that there are no CGI shots in the film, but he did not elaborate on how the explosion imagery was achieved.

Known for his preference for practical effects and analog techniques over computer-generated imagery (CGI), Nolan aims to push the boundaries of filmmaking. He emphasized the importance of creating visuals that are not only visually appealing but also unsettling and threatening. The director expressed his desire for the explosion scenes in “Oppenheimer” to convey a sense of danger and intensity that CGI typically lacks.

“Oppenheimer,” a film directed and written by Nolan, is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. The star-studded movie tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist who played a central role in the development of the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project during the 1940s.

Nolan’s interest in the intersection of science and politics was sparked when Robert Pattinson, the star of his 2020 film “Tenet,” presented him with a collection of Oppenheimer’s speeches. The director decided to delve into the true story rather than using it as a mere science fiction analogy, aiming to transport audiences back in time to experience what it was like for Oppenheimer during those moments.

Recreating the Trinity test, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, presented a formidable challenge for Nolan, particularly since he aimed to achieve the visuals practically rather than relying on CGI. He and visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson embarked on an experimental journey to create analog methods that would capture the nightmarish and terrifying essence of the Trinity test. The final result, according to Nolan, is a fusion of extraordinary beauty and sheer terror.

“Oppenheimer” is scheduled to hit theaters on July 21. By avoiding the temptations of CGI and prioritizing practical effects, Christopher Nolan aims to present a visually stunning yet emotionally impactful cinematic experience, depicting the harrowing reality of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb.