Christopher Nolan has parted with Warner Bros. after over 20 years of working with the studio and his next film, a biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, will be set up over at Universal Pictures. Upon making this deal, Universal called the project an “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.” And now, Nolan has found his Oppenheimer with his old-time collaborator Cillian Murphy set to star.
Oppenheimer is considered one of the "fathers of the atom bomb" that he helped develop during World War II under the "Manhattan project". He was among those who observed the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945 with the weapons then used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer famously later remarked that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Officially titled Oppenheimer, this will be Murphy's first collaboration with Nolan since he co-starred in Nolan's 2009 original sci-fi film Inception though they first worked together when Murphy co-starred in Nolan's 2005 film Batman Begins as the villain Scarecrow (a role he reprised in cameo form for the two sequels). He did, however, have a cameo in Nolan's 2017 war film Dunkirk (credited as "Shivering Soldier"). This will not be Nolan's only re-teaming as he is once again collaborating with director of photography Hoyte Van Hoytema (Tenet, Dunkirk, Interstellar), editor Jennifer Lame (Tenet) and, composer Ludwig Göransson (Tenet).
The project is based on the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin. Sherwin, in a sad coincidence, passed away this past week. Nolan is both writing the script and directing. Production is set to begin in early 2022 and shoot on IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film. Nolan will be producing the project alongside his long-time partner and wife Emma Thomas. Charles Roven of Atlas Entertainment will co-produce. The film is set to be released in North American theaters on July 21, 2023. Stay tuned!