Christopher Nolan shot “Oppenheimer” using 70mm IMAX cameras. The director famously champions the format as the sharpest, most immersive available, and even challenged Kodak to develop black and white IMAX film for his latest effort. That seems to have paid off as “Oppenheimer” has had its IMAX run extended following an impressive debut that saw the movie pass $400 million at the box office after its second weekend in theaters.
But it can’t have been easy to drag giant IMAX cameras into a tiny meeting room in order to shoot the security clearance hearing scenes. Instigated by Robert Downey Jr.’s Lewis Strauss in the years after the Trinity Test, the hearings are led by several arbitrators tasked with basically dismantling Oppenheimer’s reputation. Chief among them is Jason Clarke’s special counsel Roger Robb, whose fiery dressing down of the physicist and his associates makes him one of the most memorable antagonists in “Oppenheimer,” despite Clarke’s role being relatively slight.
According to Murphy, these scenes were some of the most challenging, and rewarding, to film. As he told Collider:
“The section of the movie that I loved working on the most was the section in the room, in 2022, when we were all in the hearing. We shot in this tiny, s****y little room. There weren’t any moveable walls or anything like that; it was just all of us in there with this huge camera. That felt almost like doing a play. We did that for two weeks, so all these incredible actors, Jason Clarke and everybody, would come in and do their piece. I found that very emotional and heavy, but in a brilliant way. It was a real challenge. So, that was my favorite chunk of the movie in terms of shooting.”