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Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ Unveils First Image of Cillian Murphy as Titular Atomic Scientist

Universal Pictures has released the first image of Cillian Murphy as titular physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in the upcoming biopic Oppenheimer, as shared by The Hollywood Reporter. The actor is portraying the theoretical physicist, who was also one of the fathers of the atomic bomb during World War II, in the film.

Oppenheimer was the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and helmed the Manhattan Project, which first developed nuclear weapons for World War II. He also supervised the Trinity Test, in which the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated in New Mexico.

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However, his loyalty to the United States was later questioned by government officials.

Oppenheimer was written, and is being directed and produced, by Christopher Nolan. The drama is based on the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin.

Besides Murphy, Oppenheimer has also just cast Kenneth Branagh in an unspecified role and Michael Angarano as the eponymous character’s fellow physicist, Robert Serber. The movie also stars Emily Blunt as the titular character’s wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer; Matt Damon as Gen. Leslie Groves Jr., the director of the Manhattan Project; and Robert Downey, Jr. as Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

The biopic also stars Florence Pugh as psychiatrist Jean Tatlock; Benny Safdie as theoretical physicist Edward Teller; and Josh Hartnett as pioneering American nuclear scientist Ernest Lawrence.

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The star-studded cast also includes Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich and David Krumholtz.

Oppenheimer has started production in New Mexico. It will also film in several other locations, including California and New Jersey.

Nolan has recruited director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema, who he previously worked with on Tenet, Dunkirk and Interstellar, to partially shoot Oppenheimer on IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film. Nolan has also brought editor Jennifer Lame and composer Ludwig Göransson, who both also worked on Tenet, to collaborate with him on his upcoming drama.

Last September, Universal Pictures won a bidding war for the movie’s distribution rights. Oppenheimer will be Nolan’s first feature to not be made with his longtime studio home, Warner Bros., since his acclaimed 2000 mystery thriller, Memento.

Universal Pictures is set to theatrically release Oppenheimer in North America on July 21, 2023. The Academy Award-nominated Nolan traditionally distributes his films in theaters during the summer.

Universal Pictures has promised the biopic will have a theatrical window of approximately 100 days, which is an increase from the pre-COVID standard of 90 days.

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Oppenheimer‘s theatrical window is also longer than the new 45-day window that’s now becoming the industry standard.

The upcoming movie marks a reunion for Murphy and Nolan, who first worked together on Batman Begins, in which the Golden Globe-nominated actor portrayed the Scarecrow after auditioning for Batman. He has also appeared in three of Nolan’s other films, including Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Dunkirk.

Branagh, who recently received three Oscar nominations for his coming-of-age drama, Belfast, has also collaborated with Nolan on previous projects; the Emmy Award-winning actor starred in Dunkirk and Tenet.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Karen Benardello
Karen Benardello
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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