10 mind-blowing facts about Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ you should know

Oppenheimer. Image credit: Twitter/ Oppenheimer

By Ayush Gupta 


IBNS: Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is undeniably one of the most highly anticipated blockbusters of 2023, and it lives up to the hype on multiple fronts. As a sprawling biopic, it meticulously chronicles the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant physicist who led a team of scientists in a race against time to build the atomic bomb that played a pivotal role in World War II. The film also captures his moral dilemma.

With Nolan’s starcast and Ludwig Göransson’s score, Oppenheimer draws the audience to the dilemma of the characters and human morality.

Here are 10 “you don’t know” facts of Nolan’s bombastic epic

Robert Pattinson inspires Nolan for Oppenheimer

A gift from Robert Pattinson during the filming of “Tenet” sparked Christopher Nolan’s fascination with Oppenheimer’s speeches, leading him to undertake this ambitious biopic. The impact of Pattinson’s gesture is evident, as Nolan’s dedication to portraying the physicist’s reality shines through in every frame.

Nolan’s first R-Rated in 20 years

For the first time in over two decades, Nolan delivers an R-rated film, a move that is justified given the mature themes explored in “Oppenheimer.” R rating is for films that are not suitable to be seen by children because of violence, offensive language, or sexual activity. The Motion Picture Association of America granted the rating due to some sexuality, nudity, and strong language, especially in a pivotal sex scene between Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh, who portray psychiatrist Jean Tatlock. This exploration of Oppenheimer’s complex personal life adds depth to the narrative, painting a more realistic and human portrayal of the historical figure.

Cillian Murphy’s sixth appearance in Nolan’s film

Cillian Murphy, who has worked with Nolan on multiple occasions, steps into the spotlight as the eponymous lead. His performance is nothing short of exceptional, capturing the immense pressure and internal struggles faced by Oppenheimer during this crucial period in history. Murphy’s portrayal adds a layer of authenticity and vulnerability to the character, making him a captivating protagonist.

Nolan used real explosives to shoot the nuclear test

As expected from Nolan, practical effects take center stage, ensuring authenticity and immersion in the recreation of the Trinity nuclear test. While the director did not detonate a real nuclear bomb (thankfully!), his commitment to practical effects heightens the film’s realism and impact.

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IMAX and Panavision – A Visual Spectacle

Nolan, known for his love of IMAX cameras, once again showcases his affinity for grand cinematography by using IMAX 65mm and Panavision 65mm cameras. The result is a visually stunning experience that elevates “Oppenheimer” to a whole new level. The IMAX print of the film stretches an astonishing 11 miles and weighs 600 pounds, capturing every detail with breathtaking clarity.

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A departure from Warner Bros

“Oppenheimer” marks a significant departure for Nolan from his long-standing collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures. The director’s fallout with the studio led him to seek other avenues for this project. While the change in partnership might have been risky, it appears to have allowed Nolan the creative freedom needed to produce a compelling and impactful biopic.

A star-studded cast with hidden roles

The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, and more. Interestingly, Nolan chose to keep the actors in the dark about their roles until the deals were finalized, a decision that likely attracted top talent eager to work on a Christopher Nolan project regardless of the role.

Nolan’s longest film ever

Clocking in at a whopping 180 minutes (three hours), “Oppenheimer” is Nolan’s longest film to date, beating Interstellar’s 2 hr 49 mins duration however, every minute is justified in telling the intricate and multi-faceted story of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Nolan’s Manhattan Project

Much like the scientists of the Manhattan Project, the cast of “Oppenheimer” formed a tight-knit community during filming, living together in a New Mexico hotel. This sense of camaraderie and shared experience resonates in their performances, further elevating the authenticity of the film.

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First black & white IMAX film stock in the movie

Nolan aimed to ensure the verisimilitude of the black-and-white segments of the film. Consequently, Kodak developed the first-ever IMAX film stock, which was subsequently processed by Fotokem.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Abyss