Did Christopher Nolan Actually Recreate An Atomic Explosion In ‘Oppenheimer’? Legendary Director Clarifies Internet Rumors

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Christopher Nolan has weighed in on speculation he actually detonated an atomic bomb while filming “Oppenheimer.”

The film about the creation of the atomic bomb premieres next week, and expectations couldn’t be higher. Every single preview has been incredible and early speculation is it will be the lead contender for best film of 2023.

Back in 2022, Nolan made some comments about recreating an atomic test explosion that set the internet on fire. He specifically told Film Total the following:

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. 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.

Those comments lead to major speculation about what Christopher Nolan had done. Had he really detonated an atomic weapon?

Christopher Nolan DID NOT detonate an atomic weapon in “Oppenheimer.”

Well, Nolan has now clarified, and it turns out that, no, he did not get his hands on one of the world’s most powerful weapons.

“It’s flattering that people would think I would be capable of something as extreme as that on the one hand, but it’s also a little bit scary,” Nolan said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about speculation he actually recreated an atomic explosion.

Christopher Nolan did not actually use an atomic bomb in “Oppenheimer.” (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

While he might not have gotten his ands on an A-bomb, which should have been obvious to everyone, the legendary filmmaker was incredibly coy about how the explosion was handled. All he’d say was that it definitely wasn’t CGI because it was too “safe” for what he was looking to do.

“CG inherently is quite comfortable to look at. It’s safe, anodyne. And what I said to [visual effects supervisor] Andrew [Jackson] on Oppenheimer is, ‘This can’t be safe. It can’t be comfortable to look at it. It has to have bite. It’s got to be beautiful and threatening in equal measure,'” Nolan further explained when talking about how it wasn’t CGI.

“Oppenheimer” looks like it’s going to be epic.

The fact Christopher Nolan is being so coy about the film should only lead to interest spiking. How do you recreate an atomic explosion without using CGI?

I imagine the answer is a hell of a lot of TNT and other explosives. It might not be the same thing, but it could get you close.

Expectations are very high for “Oppenheimer.” (Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/WireImage)

Imagine pitching that to a studio. I imagine the convo would go something like this:

Nolan: ‘Sir, we need 10,000 pounds of TNT for one scene. I swear it’s worth it.’

Studio exec: ‘Will it be dangerous?’

Nolan: ‘Danger is simply an opinion. This is ‘Oppenheimer’ we’re talking about!’

*Moment of hesitation*

Studio exec: ‘Load up and let’s rock.’

I imagine it went something like that. At the very least I hope it did. No matter what, fans will get a look at “Oppenheimer” starting July 21. I truly can’t wait. It looks like it’s going to be a hell of a ride. Make sure to check back for the latest updates as we have them.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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