Christopher Nolan explains why he didn’t use CGI for the nuclear explosion in ‘OPPENHEIMER’ KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Christopher Nolan explains why he didn’t use CGI for the nuclear explosion in ‘OPPENHEIMER’

Christopher Nolan explains why he didn’t use CGI for the nuclear explosion in ‘OPPENHEIMER’.

“I find CGI rarely is able to grab you. It tends to feel safe. Even if it's impressive and beautiful, it's difficult to make you feel danger.”

With Oppenheimer, his new movie all about the man behind the world’s first atomic bomb, he faced a new challenge – the biggest one of the entire film, in fact. For all the big explosions in the new thriller, the most difficult part for Nolan was figuring out how to give audiences a peek inside the mind of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s (played by Cillian Murphy), and put the thinking behind that world-changing bomb on screen.

Nolan said this strategy was born from “the idea of how we get in somebody’s head and see how they were visualizing this radical reinvention of physics. One of the things that cinema has struggled with historically is the representation of intelligence or genius. It very often fails to engage people.”

Nolan gave the finished script to his visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, the Oscar winner for “Tenet” who helped Nolan recreate an atomic bomb explosion without CGI. “There’s the idea of how we get in somebody’s head and see how they were visualising this radical reinvention of physics,” Nolan tells Empire, as we visit the director in LA for our world-exclusive new Ahsoka issue. “One of the things that cinema has struggled with historically is the representation of intelligence or genius. It very often fails to engage people.”

Nolan revealed to Empire magazine that he wrote the screenplay completely from the point of view of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy in the film in a role the “Batman Begins” actor fought for and stretched his physical limits to portray.

“We have to find a way into this guy’s head. We’ve gotta see the world the way he sees it, we’ve gotta see the atoms moving, we’ve gotta see the way he’s imagining waves of energy, the quantum world,” he told Jackson. “And then we have to see how that translates into the Trinity test. And we have to feel the danger, feel the threat of all this somehow.”

Nolan posed to Jackson the ultimate challenge: “Let’s do all these things, but without any computer graphics.”

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