Cillian Murphy has revealed the hilariously dry way Christopher Nolan offered him the lead role in their upcoming World War II movie Oppenheimer.
Out next Friday, the movie stars Cillian as the physicist whose work on the Manhattan Project earned him the sobriquet ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ and led him to infamously declare: ‘Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.’
After finishing up the screenplay, Christopher rang up Cillian, whom he had previously cast in five other movies.
‘He’s just so understated and matter-of-fact and British,’ Cillian, 47, recalled fondly in the Hollywood Reporter. ‘It was like: “Cillian, look, I have a script, it’s Oppenheimer and I’d like you to play Oppenheimer.” That was it.’
The anecdote went public one day after the cast sensationally walked out of the film’s London premiere as the Hollywood actors’ strike was officially announced.
Duo: Cillian Murphy (right) has revealed the dry way Christopher Nolan (left) offered him the lead role in Oppenheimer; they are pictured at a photo-call for the film in London this week
‘Destroyer of worlds’: Out next Friday, the movie stars Cillian as the physicist whose work on the Manhattan Project earned him the sobriquet ‘the father of the atomic bomb’
Christopher got the idea of casting Cillian from the cover of American Prometheus, the Oppenheimer biography on which he based the screenplay.
In accordance with his usual habit, he did not have any particular actor in mind while working on the script, but arrived at his decision after a version was completed.
‘I’ve been staring at the cover of the book American Prometheus for so many months, and there’s this photograph, black and white, a light blue-eyed stare, very intense, of this guy. And I thought: “Well, I know who could do that,”‘ he dished.
Cillian previously worked for Christopher on all three of his Batman movies, as well as Inception and the director’s previous World War II picture Dunkirk.
However Oppenheimer, which details the events leading up to the thunderous end of the war, is the first time Cillian led a movie by Christopher.
The star-studded cast includes Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty and Florence Pugh as his psychiatrist mistress Jean Tatlock.
Robert Downey Jr plays Lewis Strauss, the US Atomic Energy Commission chairman whose relationship with Oppenheimer ultimately disintegrated into a bitter feud.
Matt Damon features as the US Army Corps Of Engineers’ Leslie Groves, who presided over not only the Manhattan Project but also the building of the Pentagon.
Formidable: The star-studded cast includes Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty
The women in his life: Florence Pugh features as his psychiatrist mistress Jean Tatlock
Sensation: The anecdote went public one day after the cast walked out of the film’s London premiere as the Hollywood actors’ strike was officially announced
Casey Affleck, Rami Malek, Josh Hartnett, Kenneth Branagh, Benny Safdie, Alden Ehrenreich, David Krumholtz and Gustaf Skarsgård are all part of the ensemble.
The clutch of actors who play Manhattan Project scientists charmingly formed a WhatsApp Group under the name ‘Oppenhomies.’
Robert Downey Jr gushed: ‘It was the cast of Ben-Hur. Everybody would have their moments. There were no small scenes.’
Their cohesion was thrown into relief Thursday night when they hit the red carpet for Oppenheimer’s UK premiere – as the actors’ strike was on the verge of beginning.
Once the strike was officially declared, the actors banded together to perform the headline-grabbing stunt of walking out of the event in solidarity, prompting their director to quip that they were headed off ‘to write their picket signs.’
SAG-AFTRA’s strike broke out against the backdrop of the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike, which has been rumbling on since May.
On the actors’ side, some of the sticking points include the pay structure of the streaming era and the looming specter of AI.
Read the full article here