What Has Been Revealed So Far About 'Oppenheimer'? Plot, Cast and Trailer
Following 2020's Tenet, Nolan's next movie is Oppenheimer, which is named after its subject, theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Like all Nolan projects, the film has a tantalizing premise, an impressively stacked cast and an assemblage of trusted collaborators behind the scenes.
When and where will we be able to watch Oppenheimer?
Universal Pictures will release Oppenheimer in theaters on July 21, 2023.
What is Oppenheimer about?
Just the deadliest weapon in the history of humanity.
Based on American Prometheus, a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Nolan’s film charts the theoretical physicist’s role in the Manhattan Project. Between 1942 and 1946, during the Second World War, the US led a research and development program to produce the first nuclear weapons.
The project’s foundations were initially formed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, in response to fears that scientists working for Adolf Hitler were working on a nuclear weapon of their own. A team, composed of scientists and military officials, were tasked with investigating uranium’s potential as a weapon. This was later named the Office Of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) in 1941.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which led to America joining the war effort on the Allies side, this project officially morphed into a military initiative led by Lieutenant General Leslie Groves of the Army Corps Of Engineers.
In 1943, Oppenheimer was appointed as director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico where the actual bombs were designed. This complex – also known as Project Y during its creation – was where the first Manhattan Project bombs were built and tested.
The Manhattan Project culminated in the first detonation of a nuclear weapon at the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico, as part of the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945. The bombs, designed to end the Second World War, were later used in devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan on August 6 and August 9, 1945 respectively. The two bombs killed over 100,000 people and levelled both cities to the ground.
Two decades later in a TV interview in 1965, Oppenheimer reflected on the Trinity test. “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed. A few people cried. Most people were silent,” he said.
“I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. I suppose we all felt that, one way or another.”
Oppenheimer died on February 18, 1967, aged 62, following a battle with throat cancer.
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The Oppenheimer trailer opens with an explosion, with engulfing flames that turn into snow-like ashes, depicting the eerie aftermath of the detonation. “We imagine a future, and our imaginings horrify us,” theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy) narrates, as we're offered landscape visuals of where the US government-controlled Manhattan Project took place, amidst World War II. “They won't fear it until they understand it. And they won't understand it until they've used it.” The Oppenheimer trailer is quite dreamlike, in what feels like vignettes of memory, in which the titular physicist appears to be a troubled man, whose flaws are ignored in favour of his brilliance.
Who is Oppenheimer's director?
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970, in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.
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Who's the cast?
Cillian Murphy plays J. Robert Oppenheimer, marking the sixth collaboration between the actor and director (following The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk). "I'm interested in the man and what [inventing the atomic bomb] does to the individual," Murphy told The Guardian.
Emily Blunt co-stars as Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer, Robert's wife and a biologist in her own right who researched the effects of radiation while her husband tested the A-bomb. Florence Pugh plays Jean Tatlock, whom Oppenheimer dated while he was a professor and she was a grad student and continued seeing during his marriage.
Matt Damon plays Lieutenant General Leslie Groves Jr., the director of the Manhattan Project, with Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, who served on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission with Oppenheimer, and Josh Hartnett as nuclear scientist Ernest Lawrence.
The cast also includes Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Benny Safdie, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich, David Krumholtz, Michael Angarano, Jason Clarke, Louise Lombard, Dylan Arnold, Olli Haaskivi and Kenneth Branagh.
|Who else is involved with the movie? |
Oppenheimer's creative team includes Nolan's longtime producing partners Emma Thomas and Charles Roven, plus recurring cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who also shot Interstellar, Dunkirk and Tenet. (Van Hoytema's work on Dunkirk earned him an Oscar nomination.)
Nolan also tapped Tenet's editor, Jennifer Lame, and its composer, Oscar winner Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther), to collaborate once more on Oppenheimer.
Why did Christopher Nolan part ways with Warner Bros. for Oppenheimer?
The director wasn’t happy with their release strategy
Nolan’s decision to switch from his longtime collaborators at Warner Bros. to Universal occurred after the director criticised the former’s plans to release their 2021 film slate simultaneously on streaming service HBO Max.
In a statement at the time, Nolan said: “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theatres and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
As such, Oppenheimer marks Nolan’s first film to be distributed by Universal. Until now, every film of the director’s since 2002’s Insomnia has been in collaboration with Warner Bros.
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