‘Danger never goes away’: Christopher Nolan didn’t intend Oppenheimer’s film to be so timely | Ents & Arts News

The world’s first nuclear explosion occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested in New Mexico.

Now, a new film about the so-called father of the atomic bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer, examines how he came to create a weapon that would change the world and how it changed him.

At the atomic bomb proving ground near Almagordo, NM, University of California physicist Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer smokes his pipe as he gazes at the site on Sept. 9, 1945. (AP Photo)
J. Robert Oppenheimer at the atomic bomb proving ground in September 1945

Decades after its invention, as the Russian war rages in Ukraine, the weapon’s threat to the world is back in people’s minds.

Director Christopher Nolanwho also wrote the film, based it on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin, told Sky News he never wanted his film to be so timely.

“I had a conversation with one of my teenage sons about what I was working on and he was literally like, ‘Does anyone really care more about nuclear weapons? Is it really a thing in the world?’

“To which I said, ‘Well, maybe that’s a reason to make the movie, but beyond that, it’s just a very, very dramatic story about how our world has changed. for all time “.

“Two years later, he doesn’t ask that question anymore and neither does anyone else for all the worst possible reasons, and it’s symptomatic of our relationship with the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear holocaust – it goes and comes with geopolitical changes in a way that it shouldn’t – I mean, the danger never goes away.”

Learn more about Christopher Nolan

To inhabit the role of Oppenheimer, Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy lost weight and perfected a new accent and also had to learn quantum physics and struggle with Oppenheimer’s morality.

“Actors love getting jobs and then they’re dying to finish them, that seems to be the answer,” Murphy told Sky News.

(LR): Tom Conti as Albert Einstein with Murphy.  Image: Universal Images
Tom Conti as Albert Einstein with Murphy. Image: Universal Images

“So, yeah, it was vacation time after that, of course, if you’re doing something for 17, 18 hours a day and you’re in it and you’re on set all the time, naturally there’s will have a cost and then you feel at the end that there’s all this displaced energy and you’re not quite sure what to do with it, and you start moving furniture around.”

Nolan intervenes: “And have a sandwich”.

For the director, known for films like Intersteller, Inception and Dunkirk – and who has a reputation for avoiding digital effects and green screens – it wasn’t recreating a nuclear explosion that posed a challenge.

Instead, he says he found the casting process intimidating.

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts

β€œThe whole thing – with Cillian at the heart of it as Oppenheimer – but then his interactions with this whole team of people coming together to achieve this, you know, impossible feat, it was a challenge for me.

“Doing these group chats and arguments and interpersonal relationships and stuff, it all went into kind of a hothouse atmosphere with the Manhattan Project and everything they had to do for the years they were there. .

“It’s something I’ve never really done before.”

(LR): Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy.  Image: Universal Images
Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy. Image: Universal Images

Oppenheimer’s overwhelmingly positive early reviews suggest that Nolan rose to that challenge.

But now, with the film’s promotion halted by the american actor’s strikeit remains to be seen whether audiences will fancy a three-hour epic about the creation of the atomic bomb – the end of the world may be too close for comfort to be considered entertainment.

Oppenheimer, which also stars Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Jr, is released worldwide Friday, July 21.

Leave a Comment