“Oppenheimer” is an upcoming biographical film following the life and biggest achievements of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb”. The movie is also expected to follow his personal life when he fell under suspicion of being a Soviet spy at the height of the McCarthy era.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “American Prometheus” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, the film stars Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer. It is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 21, 2023, by Universal Pictures.
The other members of the star include Emily Blunt as Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, Matt Damon as Leslie Groves Jr., Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence, Gary Oldman as Harry S. Truman, Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe, Alden Ehrenreich and Jack Quaid both as Richard Feynman, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh.
This is not the first time that Christopher Nolan has chosen Cillian Murphy for his movies. Murphy has played supporting roles in five of Nolan’s movies, including three “Dark Knight” films, “Inception” and “Dunkirk”. In an interview with Esquire, Murphy shared that the role felt “immense and terrifying” when it was first presented to him.
About the production
Filming began in late February 2022 and wrapped that May. The filming was mainly done in and around Los Alamos, New Mexico on a custom set, and also in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Oppenheimer’s family home in Los Alamos was also a part of this movie.
Christopher Nolan, who is known for his love of practical effects and shooting on film, has claimed to have recreated an atomic test “without the use of computer graphics” for this movie. The movie is shot on 65 mm IMAX film by regular Nolan collaborator Hoyte van Hoytema. One interesting piece of trivia about the production of “Oppenheimer” is that Christopher Nolan and his team had a special request for those at Kodak Photochem – they wanted some Oppenheimer scenes to be shot in black-and-white IMAX. This marks the first time that black-and-white footage has been captured with IMAX devices.
Born in New York City in 1904 to wealthy parents, Oppenheimer was a solitary child who enjoyed mineralogy and writing poetry. During college he collaborated with physicist Max Born and worked toward mastery of the new quantum mechanics. He was a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley before embarking on his role as the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory. He was in charge of making the bombs as part of the Manhattan Project, the codename for a research and development project during World War II by the US to develop nuclear weapons.
The Bhagavad Gita Quote
The first atomic bomb called ‘The Gadget’ was detonated on July 16, 1945 at a military test-facility at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The test was called Trinity. Oppenheimer famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita after witnessing the Trinity test explosion, a piece of Hindu scripture: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. Oppenheimer had learnt Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in its original form, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life.