How Christopher Nolan Cast His Oppenheimer

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Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy reveals how he was cast as the lead in Christopher Nolan’s latest film after working on five other movies together. Murphy is a frequent collaborator of Nolan’s, having appeared as Scarecrow in The Dark Knight trilogy, a solider in Dunkirk, and Robert Fischer in Inception. With Oppenheimer, Murphy will have his first leading role in a Nolan-directed picture.


Speaking with the Associated Press, Murphy revealed how Nolan ended up casting him in the lead role for Oppenheimer. He revealed that he secretly always wanted to have a leading role in a film directed by Nolan and was happy to jump on the opportunity for Oppenheimer. Check out what Murphy had to say below:

“I have always said publicly and privately, to Chris, that if I’m available and you want me to be in a movie, I’m there. I don’t really care about the size of the part. But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him.

He’s so understated and self-deprecating and, in his very English manner, just said, ‘Listen, I’ve written this script, it’s about Oppenheimer. I’d like you to be my Oppenheimer.’ It was a great day… We have this long-standing understanding and trust and shorthand and respect. It felt like the right time to take on a bigger responsibility. And it just so happened that it was a huge one.”

Why Cillian Murphy Is The Perfect Oppenheimer

While Murphy’s roles as Scarecrow and Robert were supporting characters for their respective films, the actor hadn’t been in the role as the main protagonist for any of Nolan’s films before Oppenheimer. The movie will see Murphy bring J. Robert Oppenheimer to the big screen, showcasing his contributions to the Manhattan Project. While it’s not clear how much of the theoretical physicist’s life will be adapted, Oppenheimer seems to be focused on the scientist’s regrets about having helped develop the first nuclear weapon.

Murphy’s most well-known role is as Tommy Shelby in the period drama Peaky Blinders, a fictional World War I veteran turned gang leader. While Shelby himself is a fictional character, the Peaky Blinders and other historical figures in the show are real. Because Murphy has plenty of experience bringing history to life through Peaky Blinders, he has a level of expertise in leading period pieces that makes him perfect for Oppenheimer.

With a nearly 3-hour runtime, Oppenheimer is shaping up to be a memorable adaptation of the most important physicists in world history. Given Murphy’s prior work with Nolan, his portrayal of Oppenheimer will likely be acclaimed and accurate to Nolan’s vision. Murphy is likely to impress with his role once Oppenheimer comes out in the summer.

Source: AP

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