Last month, Christopher Nolan revealed that he was inspired to make Oppenheimer (opening in theaters everywhere July 21) as his next movie after Robert Pattinson gifted him a book of speeches by J. Robert Oppenheimer when Tenet wrapped production.
You’d think Nolan would return the favor by offering Pattinson a prominent role in the atomic bomb thriller, but the actor is nowhere to be seen throughout the blockbuster’s massive ensemble, which includes everyone from Cillian Murphy to Robert Downey Jr.
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“He was busy,” the filmmaker explained during an interview with entertainment journalist Tara Hitchcock, alluding to Pattinson’s commitments to other projects like Mickey 17 and The Batman – Part II. “He’s very much in-demand these days.”
Nevertheless, the book of Oppenheimer’s speeches fortified the director’s interest in the Manhattan Project, which Tenet directly references in a conversation between The Protagonist (John David Washington) and arms dealer Dimple Kapadia (Priya Singh).
“You’re reading these great intellects trying to deal with the massive consequences of the way in which they’ve changed life forever for all of us,” Nolan continued. “And I really got hooked on the story.”
While penning the screenplay for the 3-hour historical epic, Nolan drew on American Prometheus (the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography about the life and career of J. Robert Oppenheimer written by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin). His notorious commitment to realism was taken to a new level here with the insistence that the Trinity test be recreated without the use of CGI imagery.
“Doing real-world effects and having us out in the desert with the actors, waiting for this incredible moment, it gave us some small feeling of what it must have been like to be there for the original detonation,” Nolan said. “It was thrilling and terrifying and beautiful and dangerous — all in equal measure.”
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In addition to writing and directing, he also produced the feature alongside Emma Thomas (Nolan’s wife and co-founder of their Syncopy production banner) and Charles Roven. J. David Wargo, James Woods, and Thomas Hayslip are executive producers.
Oppenheimer exclusively hits the big screen next Friday, July 21. Click here for tickets!
Want more blockbuster thrills in the meantime? Jaws, Jurassic Park, The Da Vinci Code, The Hunger Games, Fast Five, Jurassic World, Knock at the Cabin, Cocaine Bear, Renfield, and more are now streaming on Peacock!