The Low Down On Oppenheimer

Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, ‘Oppenheimer’ is a hotly-anticipated biopic that tracks the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Irish actor Cillian Murphy stars as the head scientist behind the Manhattan Project, who later came to regret his nuclear spawn famously saying ” Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Oppenheimer is the 6th time Cillian Murphy has collaborated with Christopher Nolan. Previous projects include Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises & Dunkirk.

The film is based on a book that took 20 years to compile & research. ‘American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer’ by by Kai Bird & Martin J. Sherwin went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

With so much history to be told, Oppenheimer will be Christopher Nolan’s longest film to date. “It’s kissing 3 hours” the director revealed. Previously his longest film was ‘Interstellar’ at 2 hrs, 49 mins.

The script for ‘Oppenheimer’ was entirely written in the first person, so that the Cillian would see everything through the character’s eyes.  Murphy, who had never read a script told in first person, said he needed some time to acclimate to the text. “It took me a minute, maybe a bit more than a minute, to figure that out,” the actor confessed “and that added massively to the terror.”

Christopher Nolan prefers using practical effects over CGI. For ‘Oppenheimer’ the filmmaker attempted to recreate nuclear explosions in real life using gasoline, propane, aluminum powder & magnesium to mimic the shape & look of a mushroom cloud.

Albert Einstein has been portrayed on screen 36 times. The infamous scientist, who was a friend of Oppenheimer is played here by Tom Conti. Other actors to play Einstein include Walter Matthau in ‘IQ’, Geoffrey Rush in ‘Genius’ , Eugene Levy in ‘Night At The Museum’, while Bishop Len Brennan himself, Jim Norton played Einstein in two episodes of ‘Star Trek’.

Christopher Nolan flew to Dublin to hand deliver the script of ‘Oppenheimer’ to Cillian Murphy. While Cillian read the script in a hotel room, the director went on a cultural tour of the city, including a stop at the permanent Francis Bacon exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery. Nolan has previously revealed that his look for The Joker in 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight’ was based heavily on the paintings of Francis Bacon which are famous for their depiction of violence & agony.

The most important person who ever lived
Director Christopher Nolan believes that “Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived.” Speaking at this year’s Cinemacon the filmmaker said that Oppenheimer “made the world we live in, for better or for worse. His story has to be seen to be believed. This is a cinematic tale; this is an experience of an extraordinary individual. His story poses the most unsettling questions, it’s both dream and nightmare. There are no easy answers but the most fascinating paradoxes.”

OPPENHEIMER is at Irish cinemas from July 21st