Tight security is in place on Universal Studios’ Stage 12 as a film crew
readies for a take on a surreal-looking set: a large, high-ceilinged
vault with black walls divided into blocks by a grid-like pattern of
thin, white lines. More than 100 space lights are positioned overhead,
above a layer of Full Grid and another layer of muslin; the light they
cast is neutral, sterile and shadowless. Actor Cillian Murphy kneels on
the floor. At the call of “Action!” two cameras roll, one capturing the
scene in anamorphic 35mm, the other recording the action in 65mm.
Suddenly, a crack appears in the floor, and an irregular chunk of the
set collapses and falls away, sending Murphy and some set pieces
plummeting through a hole. Dust rises into the set as director
Christopher Nolan yells, “Cut!” A moment later, hydraulic pistons lift
the collapsed floor back into position for take 2.
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