Christopher Nolan may have stepped into the unknown by taking his latest project away from longtime home Warner Bros. and to Universal instead, but he’s bringing in an old friend to star in the film. Frequent Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy has been cast in the title role of Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
Murphy will play J. Robert Oppenheimer in the film, which revolves around his part in developing the atomic bomb during World War II. The film is being described as “an IMAX-shot epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.”
Nolan is writing the screenplay himself, which is based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph & Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Nolan’s wife Emma Thomas is returning to produce, while he’s also brought along some other friends, including Interstellar director of photographer Hoyte Van Hoytema and Tenet editor Jennifer Lame.
Murphy has appeared in all three of Nolan’s Batman films, as well as Inception and Dunkirk, but this will be the first time he’s actually been the lead of one of the director’s films.
He’s always been a well respected actor, and this will no doubt give him the opportunity to earn some major awards recognition, as Nolan’s land foray into war, Dunkirk, received a bunch of Oscar nominations.
Nolan disapproved of Warner Bros.’ distribution methods during the pandemic, namely that they decided to release big movies directly to HBO Max, which made him fear for the cinematic experience. So he packed his bags and left, landing with Universal, who are no doubt thrilled to have a big name director like him on their roster.
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley said in a statement:
“Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas‘ films have shattered the limits of what cinematic storytelling can achieve. We are thrilled to be working alongside them on this exceptional and extraordinary project and are grateful for their shared passion and commitment to the theatrical experience.”
Oppenheimer will no doubt be one of the biggest films of the year, whenever it arrives. Production is expected to begin in early 2022, and will be shot using IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film. So expect something like a late 2023 release date.