It’s no secret that Christopher Nolan’s scrupulous etiquette and an exceptional eye for detail are what make him a visionary in Hollywood and his filmmaking, one of a kind; you’ll always hear actors who’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with him practically worship the ground he walks on, so to speak. But not everyone is privy to the extent to which his meticulousness goes – you think carrying out a real-life explosion was bonkers? Wait till you hear what they did for the infamous dialogue in the backdrop of the Trinity Test.
Spoiler Alert! This article contains a spoiler about Oppenheimer‘s nuclear explosion scene.
Christopher Nolan’s Trinity Test Truth Will Blow Your Mind
No pun intended, of course.
British filmmaker Christopher Nolan is a man of many talents and leaving people utterly stupefied thanks to his unforgettable cinematic feasts most certainly sits at the very top of that list. Take his recent interview featuring Robert Downey Jr. with BBC Radio 1’s film critic Ali Plumb, for instance.
When the trio sat down to discuss Nolan’s latest masterpiece, the historic biopic on J. Robert Oppenheimer starring Cillian Murphy, the interviewer couldn’t help but swoon over the sensational atomic bomb scene for which the film crew carried out an actual explosion. Not only did the director absolutely nail the Trinity Test, capturing the precise essence of that momentous scene, right down to the very last detail, he also included the physicist’s ominous quote which he invoked from the Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita –
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Talking about the same, Plumb exclaimed just how significant of a moment that had been, and how he would’ve loved to be present in the ADR room at the time they were recording that audio. Automated dialogue replacement or ADR usually occurs in the postproduction process wherein audio is re-recorded in a controlled and essentially noiseless setting (you guessed it right, like a recording studio or an ADR room), to preserve its quality. Now, here’s the catch, Nolan didn’t do any of that because they utilized real recordings instead for the nuclear test shot. And of course, that left Plumb speechless –
“You son of a b*tch…”
Yup, that’s all the poor guy could muster because really, who would’ve seen that coming?
How They Pulled Off the Nuclear Explosion Without VFX
Sure, CGI can be enticing, but you know what’s more captivating? Science. And that’s exactly how the Oppenheimer team managed to reproduce the glorious mushroom cloud in the atomic test scene.
Talking to Variety about the explosion sequence, the movie’s cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema divulged how they drew inspiration from science experiments involving metallic balloons and aquariums to recreate the historic moment when the atomic bomb goes off. And voila, go off it did!
“We created science experiments. We built aquariums with power in it. We dropped silver particles in it. We had molded metallic balloons which were lit up from the inside. We had things slamming and smashing into one another such as ping-pong balls, or just had objects spinning.”
So, that’s how Nolan managed to carry out a nuclear bomb explosion in real life without actually setting off any explosive devices. 11/10 for their genius.
Oppenheimer is currently playing in cinemas.
Source: BBC Radio 1