Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has been a topic of considerable interest throughout the past year. This film made headlines with its momentous Barbenheimer weekend and stood out due to Christopher Nolan's star-studded cast. It has become a strong competitor throughout this awards season, securing 13 nominations at the 96th Academy Awards. However, one of the more unexpected elements that sparked debate and criticism revolves around the intimate scenes between Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh. Now, Pugh has revealed that a camera malfunctioned amidst one of her nude scenes, leading to less-than-ideal circumstances on set.
At a Universal press event for Nolan’s latest historical epic, the actress partook in a conversation with Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt, which was moderated by Jamie Dornan. It was during this discussion that recalled the intriguing behind-the-scenes story. She recounted that not only did a camera break while filming a sex scene with Cillian Murphy but that there was also no immediate replacement available, the crew had to pause and wait for the camera to be repaired. Her account of the situation sounds both fascinating and very inconvenient:
In the middle of our sex scene, the camera broke. No one knows this, but it did. Our camera broke when we were both naked, and it was not ideal timing. And there weren’t many cameras. And one camera was in the shop being fixed, and Chris turned and asked someone, ‘Where’s the other camera?’ Camera was in the shop – bad news for that person that gave him the news. We then had to figure out how to fix this camera.
The film was entirely shot using a combination of IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large-format film stocks. (Notably, the movie also featured some scenes that were captured using pioneering IMAX black-and-white film photography.) So getting a replacement camera was nearly impossible, and repairs were necessary. During the same interview, Florence Pugh shared that although it wasn't the ideal time, it was an excellent opportunity for her to familiarize herself with the process that Christopher Nolan was implementing and learn a thing or two about the cameras. The Marvel alumnus continued:
We then had to figure out how to fix this camera. So Cillian and I are in this room together, and it’s a closed set so we’re both holding our bodies like this [twists into an awkward position]. And this camera surgeon comes into the room and starts doing like [makes fixing sounds] on this camera, because this camera is broken. And I’m like, ‘Well, this is my moment to learn. Tell me, what’s wrong with this camera?’ You just make your moments. [laughs] I’m like, ‘What’s going on with the shutter here, buddy?’
Hey, when an opportunity presents itself–in your birthday suit or not–you gotta take it. The fact that major camera setbacks couldn't stop Christopher Nolan and his cast from pushing through the work is also impressive.
Oppenheimer made its theatrical debut in the United States on July 21 and was released by Universal Pictures. It had an excellent theatrical run, earning an impressive $955 million worldwide. Christopher Nolan himself even opened up about the "crazy thing" regarding the success. This remarkable performance made it the third highest-grossing film of 2023. Additionally, it set records as the most profitable World War II-themed movie and the top-grossing biographical film. In my opinion, it's easily one of the 25 best movies of 2023. Here's hoping it takes home some gold when the 96th Oscars ceremony airs on ABC on March 10, 2024.
Among the nominees is Cillian Murphy, who is up for Best Actor, and folks are surely going to remember his and Florence Pugh's performances for some time. You really can't help but appreciate that the actors managed to keep their composure throughout the camera ordeal. I also love the fact that Pugh can even see some humor in the not-so-ideal moment now.
If you haven't watched the film yet and want to see the fantastic chemistry between the two actors, then you're in luck. The movie is Oppenheimer is finally headed to streaming just in time for awards season. Starting February 16, anyone with a Peacock subscription can watch it.