Christopher Nolan Finally Reveals Why His Movies Sound Like They Take Place Underwater

christopher nolan sittting in a chair

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Christopher Nolan is not just one of the best filmmakers of his generation but perhaps of all time, especially if he nabs a Best Picture win for Oppenheimer, which will see the 52-year-old director put a cherry on top of what’s already been an iconic career.

He does, however, has some famous ticks. For example, his reverence for non-linear narratives and timeline manipulation. Or his famed use of the dead wife trope. Or, perhaps most notably in 2020’s Tenet, the unshakeable feeling that his movies are more difficult to understand, or rather, to HEAR, than most other films.

And now, finally, Nolan has given us the answer why: he doesn’t use the common post-production tool known as ADR.

Standing for automated dialogue replacement, ADR allows actors to record lines more clearly in post-production, therefore improving the sound quality of the film. It’s because of ADR, for example, that you’re able to understand Tom Cruise when he’s hanging off the sides of planes and whatnot.

Nolan doesn’t have his actors come back after filming and do additional dialogue recordings, known as ADR, in post-production.

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

Nolan also clarifies that the IMAX cameras he uses to film his movies have improved their audio-recording capabilities over the years.

“There are certain mechanical improvements. And actually, Imax is building new cameras right now which are going to be even quieter. But the real breakthrough is in software technology that allows you to filter out the camera noise. That has improved massively in the 15 or so years that I’ve been using these cameras. Which opens up for you to do more intimate scenes that you would not have been able to do in the past.”

Since releasing on July 21, Oppenheimer has racked up over $400 million at the global box office and has been touted as being a major contender at next year’s Academy Awards. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and more.

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Eric Italiano is a NYC-based writer who spearheads BroBible's Pop Culture and Entertainment content. He covers topics such as Movies, TV, and Video Games, while interviewing actors, directors, and writers.