Christopher Nolan is a highly anticipated director, and his next project, “Oppenheimer,” is generating even more excitement. This film is his first biopic and the first one since “Memento” in 2000 that is not being distributed by Warner Bros. The cast is packed with top-tier Hollywood actors, making it feel like an all-star lineup similar to “Avengers Assemble.”
In addition to the impressive cast, “Oppenheimer” deals with a subject matter that aligns with Christopher Nolan’s penchant for ambitious and weighty storytelling. The film focuses on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a renowned theoretical physicist known for his involvement in the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. With Cillian Murphy taking the lead role, there is anticipation that this film about the creation of such a destructive weapon could become a significant cinematic event, rivaling Nolan’s previous works.
What is Oppenheimer about?
Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” draws inspiration from the biography “American Prometheus” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. The movie explores J. Robert Oppenheimer’s involvement in the Manhattan Project, a research and development program conducted by the United States between 1942 and 1946 during World War II. The goal of the project was to develop the first nuclear weapons.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the foundations of the project in response to concerns that scientists under Adolf Hitler’s regime were developing their own nuclear weapons. A team consisting of scientists and military officials was assembled to explore the potential of uranium as a weapon. In 1941, this effort was officially named the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD).
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which prompted the United States to enter the war on the side of the Allies, the project transitioned into a military initiative under the leadership of Lieutenant General Leslie Groves of the Army Corps of Engineers.
In 1943, Oppenheimer was chosen to be the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, where the design of the actual atomic bombs took place. This facility, also referred to as Project Y during its development, was where the first bombs of the Manhattan Project were constructed and tested.
The Manhattan Project reached its culmination with the first ever detonation of a nuclear weapon at the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. This event, known as the Trinity test, took place on July 16, 1945. The purpose of the project was to create bombs that could bring an end to the Second World War. Unfortunately, these bombs were later used in devastating attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945, respectively. The bombings resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people and caused extensive destruction, reducing both cities to ruins.
In a television interview in 1965, Oppenheimer further reflected on the Trinity test and shared a profound thought. He recalled a line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, in which Vishnu, in an attempt to convince the prince to fulfill his duty, reveals his divine form and declares, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Oppenheimer expressed that this sentiment resonated with him and others involved in the project, as they recognized the immense power they had harnessed and the potential destruction it could bring.
Oppenheimer passed away on February 18, 1967, at the age of 62, after battling throat cancer.
Who has been cast in Oppenheimer?
Cillian Murphy, known for his collaborations with Nolan in films like “Batman Begins” and “Dunkirk,” takes on the lead role of Oppenheimer. The cast also includes Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife Katherine ‘Kitty’ Oppenheimer, Matt Damon as Leslie Groves, the overseer of the Army Corps of Engineers, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, a member of the Communist Party and Oppenheimer’s romantic partner.
The cast of “Oppenheimer” also includes Benny Safdie as physicist Edward Teller, Josh Hartnett as physicist Ernest Lawrence, Matthew Modine as OSRD leader Vannevar Bush, Dylan Arnold as Robert’s younger brother Frank Oppenheimer, and Michael Angarano as Robert Serber.
The film “Oppenheimer” also features a talented ensemble cast, including Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Olli Haaskivi, Alden Ehrenreich, David Krumholtz, Kenneth Branagh, David Dastmalchian, Jason Clarke, Louise Lombard, Scott Grimes, Christopher Denham, James D’Arcy, David Rysdahl, Guy Burnet, Danny Deferrari, Josh Peck, Harrison Gilbertson, Emma Dumont, Matthias Schweighöfer, Gustaf Skarsgard, Devon Bostick, Alex Wolff, Tony Goldwyn, Trond Fausa Aurvag, Gary Oldman, Josh Zuckerman, Olivia Thirlby, and Casey Affleck. Their specific roles in the film are currently unknown.
Has a trailer been released?
A teaser trailer for “Oppenheimer” was unveiled on July 28, showcasing Cillian Murphy as the physicist and featuring narration from different characters who refer to him as “the man who moved the Earth.” The trailer includes a voice expressing that Oppenheimer’s work gave humanity the capability to self-destruct, making him the most significant person in history.
What has the cast said about Oppenheimer?
In an interview with the Observer, Cillian Murphy discussed his fascination with complex and contradictory characters like Oppenheimer and Tommy Shelby from “Peaky Blinders.” He expressed his interest in exploring the impact of inventing the atomic bomb on an individual and how it shapes their character. Murphy mentioned that while he may not fully comprehend the technical aspects of the subject, he finds the contradictions within these characters intriguing. He also noted that people can relate to such contradictory characters since we all carry conflicting ideas within ourselves.
Why did Christopher Nolan part ways with Warner Bros. for Oppenheimer?
Nolan’s decision to move from Warner Bros. to Universal came about after he expressed criticism of Warner Bros.’ strategy to release their entire 2021 film lineup simultaneously on the streaming service HBO Max.
In a statement, Nolan expressed his disappointment, saying, “Some of the industry’s top filmmakers and most renowned movie stars went to bed thinking they were working with the best movie studio and woke up to find that they were working with the worst streaming service.”