Close
Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan. This still is an 11K scan of a 70mm B&W IMAX film frame

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” Reveals First Image as Production Begins

Cameras are officially rolling on Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy as the titular American scientist and looking at his role in creating the atomic bomb. Universal Pictures revealed the first image from the film, which shows Murphy’s J. Robert Oppenheimer with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. Oppenheimer was a notorious chain smoker, and would eventually suffer from throat cancer.

As always in a Nolan film, Murphy is part of a sprawling, sensational cast filled, several of whom are Nolan veterans. Along with Murphy, who worked with Nolan in both Inception and Dunkirk, Nolan has tapped past players like current Oscar-nominee Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk and Tenet) in an unspecified role, Matt Damon (Interstellar) as Gen. Leslie Groves Jr., director of the Manhattan Project, and Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises) in an unspecified role.

Yet Oppenheimer features a slew of great actors in their first Nolan film. They include Emily Blunt as botanist and biologist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, Robert Downey, Jr. as Lewis Strauss, one of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission’s founding commissioners, Florence Pugh as psychiatrist Jean Tatlock, Benny Safdie as theoretical physicist Edward Teller, Michael Angarano as physicist Robert Serber, and Josh Hartnett as American nuclear scientist Ernest Lawrence. Then there are more great actors joining Nolan for the first time whose roles remain unspecified—Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Dylan Arnold, David Krumholtz, Alden Ehrenreich.

Oppenheimer will film across the U.S., from New Jersey to New Mexico and California, and serves as the kind of thoughtful epic Nolan has built his career on. Yet unlike his mind-bending films like Tenet, Interstellar, or Inception, or even his fact-based, critically and commercially successful 2017 film Dunkirk, Oppenheimer will eschew time-melting puzzles or even the sense of giddy relief that the end of Dunkirk offered. Instead, Oppenheimer will take us inside the creation of the most catastrophic weapon humanity has ever created, likely offering little in the way of celebration. Nolan’s film is based on Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin’s book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

Still, movie lovers love going to see a Christopher Nolan movie, and Oppenheimer will offer a writer/director at the top of his game tackling a very rich, troubling story with an amazing cast and crew.

Oppenheimer is due in theaters on July 21, 2023.

Featured image: Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

The Credits

Keep up with The Credits for the latest in film, television, and streaming.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
If you are a California resident, California law may consider certain disclosures of data a “sale” of your personal information (such as cookies that help Motion Picture Association later serve you ads, like we discuss in our Privacy Policy here), and may give you the right to opt out. If you wish to opt out, please click here: