If You Had A Hard Time Hearing Oppenheimer’s Dialogue, You’re Not Alone

What fun would it be to film a movie like “Oppenheimer” the easy way? As usual, Christopher Nolan insisted on filming in real historical locations that J. Robert Oppenheimer actually used and refused to resort to digital effects to recreate the Trinity atomic bomb test. But as with his previous movies, Nolan also made a point to avoid using ADR — a process by which, after principal photography is completed, actors return to a controlled, soundproof booth and rerecord their own dialogue that may have been drowned out by other ambient noise on the day of shooting.

This is an extremely common practice in both television and film, to be clear, but in an interview with Insider, Nolan opened up about his aversion to ADR … even as he recognizes why some viewers might not be fans of that choice:

“I like to use the performance that was given in the moment rather than the actor re-voice it later. Which is an artistic choice that some people disagree with, and that’s their right.”

Admittedly, there’s a certain logic to wanting to capture the authenticity and nuances of the direction he gave to actors on the actual day of shooting. Months removed from that, it can be difficult for actors to have to come into a sterile environment and attempt to give a similar voice performance (let alone the same exact one). Interestingly enough, Nolan was able to get away with this on “Oppenheimer” because of software advancements that allowed the IMAX camera noise to be filtered out in post-production. As Nolan told Insider, that “opens up for you to do more intimate scenes that you would not have been able to do in the past.” A method to the madness!

“Oppenheimer” is currently playing in theaters.

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