Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, with Cillian Murphy and an all-star cast, is coming soon. Here’s everything we know.
How far should humanity go in the name of science? And how far is too far? These are questions that J. Robert Oppenheimer undoubtedly asked himself when he undertook the task of creating the world’s first atomic bomb, and they’ll undeniably be questions that Christopher Nolan explores in his upcoming film Oppenheimer (with Cillian Murphy in the title role). The man behind arguably the most destructive weapon in human history is the topic of Nolan’s newest project and and Oppenheimer‘s release date is set for this summer.
Some of Nolan’s past projects (such as Memento, Inceptionand most recently tenet) have been criticized as being a tad bit too ‘thinky’ for the standard movie-goer and have explored vast concepts that are far beyond the norm of a typical Hollywood thriller. That being said, Nolan is still known as one of our generations greatest filmmakers and his take on an extremely controversial historical moment will assuredly allow him to show off his directing chops. So, with Oppenheimer still several months away from releasing, let’s take a look at everything we already know about the upcoming film.
The true plot that the film will follow has technically yet to be released, but audiences know that the film will center around the life and events of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). Specifically the movie will focus on Oppenheimer’s involvement with the Manhattan Project, the moral difficulties he faced with undertaking such a task, and the actions that he took thereafter in order to ensure that his creation would not tear the world apart. The movie has been described as being, “an IMAX-shot epic thriller that thrusts the audience into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.”
For those unaware, the Manhattan Project was the name given to the creation of the first atomic bombs back during World War II. Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos laboratory and the lead theoretical physicist on the project, becoming the world’s most well-known scientist after the bomb’s detonated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In modern history, Oppenheimer is commonly referred to as ‘the father of the atomic bomb’.
As Nolan himself recently said at CinemaCon, “Like it or not, J. Robert Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived. He made the world we live in for better or for worse. His story has to be seen to be believed.”
Despite the Manhattan Project and Oppenheimer being two of the most well-known names in American scientific history, the movie itself will be based off of the book American Prometheusa Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of Oppenheimer’s life, written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.
Christopher Nolan has been known to collaborate with some of the world’s greatest actors, a list including names such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and many more. Goal for the upcoming Oppenheimer film, it seems as though Nolan called in every possible favor in order to put together one of the most star-studded casts in history.
Starting off the list is the man himself, with Oppenheimer played by Cillian Murphy. While Murphy is a criminally underrated actor in his own right, he has made serious splashes in Hollywood by starring in the Peaky Blinders television series, as well as working with Nolan on several of his prior projects including The Dark Knight trilogy. Murphy also appeared in Inception and Dunkirk, making Oppenheimer his sixth overall film under Nolan’s direction.
Other stars that audiences will get to see in the film include Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon. Reportedly, all three of these stars took massive pay-cuts just for the movie to be able to afford all of them. Downey will be playing Lewis Strauss, a naval officer who served on the US Atomic Energy Commission, Blunt will be playing Kitty Oppenheimer, the wife of J. Robert, and Damon will be portraying Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project. The film will be Downey and Blunts first time working with Nolan, while it will be Damon’s second film under the director (Interstellar).
However, we’re not even close to done with all of the other stars that will be making appearances in the movie. Gary Oldman is set to play Harry S. Truman, Florence Pugh has been cast as Jean Tatlock (a therapist and mistress of Oppenheimers), Kenneth Branagh and Rami Malek have both been cast in unspecified roles, Jack Quaid is portraying Richard Feynman, Josh Hartnett is playing Ernest Lawrence, and other notable names such as Alden Ehrenreich, Casey Affleck, Matthew Modine, and Josh Peck will all be making appearances as well. Suffice it to say, this may be Nolan’s most noteworthy cast to date.
Oppenheimer: Release Date, Running Time & More
Despite the movie still being several months away from release, audiences have been given quite a bit of insight about what else to expect from the film. The movie itself will be more than two and a half hours long with a reported runtime of 169 minutes and Oppenheimer‘s release date is July 21, 2023.
One of the most notable aspects to take into account about the movie is that it will be Christopher Nolan’s first film to not be distributed by Warner Bros. since 2000 when Nolan premiered Memento. Instead, Oppenheimer will be released by Universal Studios, a deal which was reportedly made possible due to the studio promising Nolan that they wouldn’t release any other movies distributed by Universal within a six-week period of Oppenheimer releasing, as well as promising a minimum 100-day theatrical run. In perhaps a snarky movie, Oppenheimer‘s release date conflicts with Warner Bros’ big budget blockbuster, Barbie.
While fans will still have to wait until Oppenheimer‘s release date, a trailer for the film debuted back in December and gave audiences a keen look at what the film will look like, giving first glances at many characters such as Murphy as Oppenheimer, Damon as Groves, and many others. More recently, at CinemaCon, Nolan game exhibitors and press a look at the latest trailer, which is set to premiere with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Here’s the rundown from editor-in-chief, Chris Bumbray, was there:
“The promo sets up the movie’s scope, with the notion that they were in a race against the Nazis but lost sight of the fact that the Russians were developing a bomb too. This oversight gets Oppenheimer into trouble with Robert Downey Jr.’s congressional investigator. The footage at Los Alamos is in color, while the footage in Washington is in black and white. With an aggressive sound mix, the score by Ludwig Göransson is fantastic! Oppenheimer is a historical biopic, but it will be as intense and aggressive as anything Nolan has ever done. Be that as it may, people will again say the dialogue is occasionally hard to decipher.”
With Nolan being one of the world’s greatest directors, a cast with nearly a dozen household names, and a story surrounding one of the most well-known/controversial/destructive moments in all of human-history, it’s safe to assume that Oppenheimer is one of 2023’s most highly-anticipated projects and audiences can’t wait to see it on the big screen.