Nolan wanted to depict Oppenheimer's intelligence and genius on screen in a way that would engage the audience
One of Hollywood's finest filmmakers Christopher Nolan revealed the fresh approach he took during the development of his upcoming film, Oppenheimer.
For the first time in his more than two decades of filmmaking, Nolan wrote the script in the first person, the director revealed during an interview with Empire magazine.
Nolan expressed his desire to delve into the mind of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the protagonist who led the Manhattan Project in creating the atomic bomb. He wanted to visually depict Oppenheimer's radical reinvention of physics and portray his intelligence and genius on screen in a way that would engage the audience.
“There’s the idea of how we get in somebody’s head and see how they were visualizing this radical reinvention of physics,” Nolan said.
“One of the things that cinema has struggled with historically is the representation of intelligence or genius. It very often fails to engage people.”
To achieve this, Nolan emphasized to his visual effects supervisor that they needed to find a way to immerse the audience in Oppenheimer's perspective. He wanted them to see the world through his eyes, visualize atoms in motion, and grasp his conceptualization of waves of energy and the quantum world.
Additionally, Nolan challenged his team to accomplish these goals without relying on computer graphics.
The majority of Oppenheimer unfolds from Oppenheimer's point of view, with Cillian Murphy portraying the character.
“I actually wrote in the first-person, which I’ve never done before,” Nolan said.
“I don’t know if anyone’s ever done it before. But the point of it is, with the colour sequences, which is the bulk of the film, everything is told from Oppenheimer’s point of view — you’re literally kind of looking through his eyes.”
Nolan explained that he didn't want the audience to pass judgment on Oppenheimer. Instead, he aimed to create an immersive experience where viewers would confront the ethical dilemmas faced by the character.
Oppenheimer marks Nolan's return to an R-rated film for the first time since in over two decades. It is also his longest film to date, with a runtime just under three hours.
Oppenheimer is set to be released in theaters on July 21 by Universal Pictures.