🎧 A Scientist, One Hat, 100+ Locations
Christopher Nolan counted on production designer Ruth De Jong and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick to bring his vision to life — all without CGI
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Welcome to the first episode of Art & Crafts, The Ankler’s podcast series dedicated to bringing audiences behind the scenes to examine the careers and contributions of the talented artisans who create and craft the movies and TV series that we love.
While Oppenheimer production designer Ruth De Jong and director Christopher Nolan were location scouting in New Mexico, site of the world’s first nuclear test, they heard that Russia had invaded Ukraine. “It was at the beginning when everyone was like, well, is this going to be World War III?” recalls De Jong, who “felt a responsibility” given the gravity of the film’s subject matter and Russia’s real-time threats to use nuclear weapons. That commitment to portraying the physical reality of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was also put into practice by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, who joins De Jong in a conversation with host Jeannine Oppewall, an Oscar-nominated production designer. The trio discuss everything from the film’s absence of “visual noise” to the challenge of straddling worlds in both black-and-white and color to the one hat on the entire set, worn by a single character.