Oppenheimer: Christopher Nolan “flays” his daughter’s face off in gnarly scene

Cameron Frew
The Oppenheimer poster

Oppenheimer tells the story of the man who created the atomic bomb, and in one “experimental” scene, Christopher Nolan enlisted his daughter for a specific purpose: to get her face blown off.

This week, Nolan’s latest epic hits cinemas big and humungous across the world. The movie revolves around J.J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the nuke” who oversaw the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II, and ultimately gave us the power to destroy ourselves.

It’s one of the biggest movie events of the year, not least because it features a nuclear explosion recreated without CGI – there’s more than one reason to go see it, but that’s a major one.

During production, Nolan was in search of someone for a “small part of a somewhat experimental and spontaneous sequence”, and he had just the right person: his daughter.

Christopher Nolan blows his daughter’s face off in Oppenheimer

In an interview with The Telegraph, Nolan spoke about casting Flora as “Burn Victim” (as she’s credited on IMDb), and how “wonderful” it was to have her “sort of roll with it.”

As per the outlet, her brief role is described as a “young woman who appears to the title character in a hellish, conscience-pricking vision, in which the flesh is flayed from her face by a piercing white light.”

When discussing the scene, Nolan jokingly swatted away comparisons to Michael Powell on Peeping Tom, a 1960 slasher in which the director cast his young son as the child version of the movie’s serial killer, and himself as his dad. However, he did acknowledge the subtext of giving his daughter this specific part.

“But yes, I mean, gosh, you’re not wrong. Truthfully, I try not to analyse my own intentions,” he said.

“But the point is that if you create the ultimate destructive power it will also destroy those who are near and dear to you. So I suppose this was my way of expressing that in what, to me, were the strongest possible terms.”

Flora also has a small role in Interstellar as “girl on truck”, and to our memory, her face remains un-flayed in that film.

Oppenheimer hits cinemas on June 21. Check out our other coverage below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.