MOVIE NEWS – A new book about the filming of Oppenheimer reveals why Christopher Nolan was unable to film the Trinity test at the actual bomb site as he had hoped.
Christopher Nolan originally wanted to shoot parts of Oppenheimer at the actual Trinity test location. A new book reveals why he had to abandon those plans. Based on American Prometheus, written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Nolan’s historical drama hit theatres last July. Both the audience and the critics spoke highly of it. The filmmaker is famous these days for wanting to make his films feel as accurate as possible.
This apparently included Oppenheimer attempting to shoot the Trinity experiment sequence at the site of the actual nuclear explosion in New Mexico.
According to Jada Yuan (after Slash Film) Unleashing Oppenheimer: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Explosive Atomic-Age Thriller, which details the finale and every other element of the film, actual military weapons tests prevented Nolan from filming at White Sands Proving Ground. As production manager Ruth De Jong recalled, Nolan and production members toured the location. In fact, they went surprisingly far in planning the filming days there.
“That was wild, being out at Trinity. Chris and I were taken directly to the place where the bomb was dropped. We walked in and picked up trinitite. I was like, ‘How much radiation am I being exposed to?’ Our guide was like, ‘You get more radiation flying in an airplane back and forth to L.A. than you do standing here.'”
“Chris was like, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we could just shoot here?’ And then when we actually started to figure out the schedule, we realized that we couldn’t shoot there because they were dropping bombs during the time we needed to prep and shoot.”
Oppenheimer’s early marketing promised the film would not exactly be a traditional historical drama, and the trailers heralded the film’s intensity with an almost horror-movie-like dread.
Parts of Nolan’s film undoubtedly conform to the more traditional biographical dramatic structure and presentation. However, the Trinity test sequence in the movie proves that the trailers got it right when they promised the film to be a thriller-like experience.
Of course, while the Trinity test itself is one of the most memorable scenes in cinema, the victory speech scene following the actual dropping of the bomb on Japan serves as the perfect conclusion to this section of the film where Cillian Murphy’s protagonist struggles with the guilt of creating the bomb.
Source: Slash Film