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Christopher Nolan explains why Oppenheimer switches from color to black-and-white

Anish Vij

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Christopher Nolan explains why Oppenheimer switches from color to black-and-white

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer promises to be a nuclear hit when it drops in cinemas next month.

The film will be the director's first ever biographical drama and will follow J. Robert Oppenheimer in devising the atomic bomb during WWII.

Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy will play the theoretical physicist and is joined alongside the star-studded cast ofRobert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, just to name a few.

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In an interview with Games Radar's Total Film, he said: "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.

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Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy will play the role of the theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Credit: Universal
Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy will play the role of the theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Credit: Universal

"It’s a story of immense scope and scale. And one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer’s story."

The filmmaker - who wants the movie to be of 'immense scope and scale' - has also explained why Oppenheimer switches from color to black-and-white.

Nolan told Total Film: "I wrote the script in the first person, which I'd never done before.

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"I don't know if anyone has ever done that, or if that's a thing people do or not.

"The film is objective and subjective."

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer promises to be a nuclear hit when it drops in cinemas next month. Credit: ABC
Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer promises to be a nuclear hit when it drops in cinemas next month. Credit: ABC

Nolan then explained that 'the color scenes are subjective' and 'the black-and-white scenes are objective'.

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He added: "I wrote the color scenes from the first person.

"So for an actor reading that, in some ways, I think it'd be quite daunting."

The official synopsis of the movie reads: "J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress."

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Oppenheimer hits cinemas on 21 July.

Topics: Film & TV, Christopher Nolan, Film and TV, Celebrity

Anish Vij
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