Oppenheimer: This is how Christopher Nolan saved much of the budget to build Los Alamos

Oppenheimer: This is how Christopher Nolan saved much of the budget to build Los Alamos

The movie Oppenheimer – Oppenheimer: This is how Christopher Nolan saved much of the budget to build Los Alamos95%directed by Christopher Nolan and released in July of this year, it continues to amaze the public not only for its excellent story and execution, but also for some information revealed both by the actors in the film and by other people involved in its production. In a recent podcast interview WTF (via Variety) cillian murphy revealed that the director completed the filming of the feature film in less than 60 days. Despite the fact that, originally, around 30 additional days of filming had been contemplated.

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For his part, Ruth DeJongthe production designer of oppenheimercommented on the podcast Team Deakins, that the director cut that number of shooting days to reallocate that budget to production design and locations. “It looked like a 100 million dollar independent film. This is not Tenet.”

Nuclear explosion scene in Oppenheimer (2023) (Image: Universal Pictures)
Nuclear explosion scene in Oppenheimer (2023) (Image: Universal Pictures)
Chris wanted to shoot all over the US… Just get the plane tickets and put the crew everywhere (it’s expensive). Not to mention that he had to build Los Alamos, that doesn’t exist. That’s where I really felt like it was impossible. Chris said: ‘Forget the money. Let’s just design what we want.’ So that’s what we did, and when my city’s first construction budget was $20 million, Chris said, ‘Yeah, no. We have to stop.’ We had this huge white model and I started making buildings out of it, not to mention that we wanted to shoot in New York, New Jersey, Berkeley, Los Angeles and New Mexico.

It was then that Nolan reconsidered the initial project to adjust the budgets and thus achieve the desired production design. He restructured the schedule for shooting scenes and got an amazing result. Reducing the shooting schedule freed up a significant budget for De Jong to rebuild Los Alamos from the ground up in New Mexico.

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Tom, the executive producer, said, ‘Ruth, you can’t go to Berkeley, you can’t do this.’ But we had to go to Berkeley. This was Oppenheimer!… The producers were asking me what I could do to reduce the budget. So Tom walks into my office and says, Chris is going to shoot this in 55 days. That’s a lot of money we get back! At that point you feel like you have to push yourself harder and harder because Chris just gave up on those days. He, more than anyone, knows what he wants to achieve each day and how he wants to achieve it and he goes from 85 to 55 days.

Some scenes set in Washington DC had to be filmed in New Mexico, as the production was not allowed to film in actual government buildings. That was one of the few compromises that had to be made throughout the entire project.

Recording in record time

The fast pace of filming for this production surpassed even that of the spy movie. Tenet – Oppenheimer: This is how Christopher Nolan saved much of the budget to build Los Alamos83% in which the director invested 96 days, since Dunkirk – Oppenheimer: This is how Christopher Nolan saved much of the budget to build Los Alamos92%a World War II survival thriller that Nolan shot in 68 days.

cillian murphyas the film’s lead, is almost always front and center in most bits, so the limited schedule was especially intense for him.

We made the movie unbelievably fast, the pace was insane… The sets are huge, but it feels like being in an indie movie… It’s just Chris and the cameraman (a camera always, unless there’s a very, very bad scene). very big) and the boom operation and that’s it. There are no monitors, nothing. He is a very analog filmmaker.

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