Christopher Nolan on J. Robert Oppenheimer and His Contradictions

For example, there is a moment when he played James Remar [Henry L. Stimson, Truman’s secretary of war]He kept talking to me about how he learned Stimson and his wife had honeymooned in Kyoto. This was one of the reasons why Stimson removed the Kyoto Protocol from the list to be bombed.

I had him cross the city off the list because of its cultural significance, but I’m like, just add that. It’s a fantastically exciting moment where no one in the room knows how to react.

How do you shoot with such a gigantic cast and so many locations?

Anytime you access countless sites, many different actors, it will always be a mystery. I insisted on scheduling it around Cillian’s haircut. [Laughs] Because I’m so allergic to wigs in movies. I really wanted the movie to not have any obvious artifice when it comes to the way the characters present themselves.

One of the main moments that impressed me in the story, which I referred to in my last film “Tenet” [2020]This idea was that when scientists did their calculations, they couldn’t completely delete The possibility that they will set fire to the atmosphere and destroy the world. Go ahead and hit that button. But my feeling was, what if you could be in that room? What would that be like?

How do they feel about it? You can play it down and say they thought it was a slim possibility. But after doing so many giant explosions on film I set myself up, where safety is the most important thing of all, the tension around those flares is incredible. It’s very hard for the special effects guys to tell us exactly what it’s going to look like, exactly what it’s going to look like. When that countdown comes on, it’s incredibly tense, and eliciting that for the Manhattan Project, for the Trinity Test, I couldn’t even imagine. I was excited about trying to give the audience a sense of that, of living in that room.

In this case, he succeeded and the world survived. Who did that account?

It came from the cashier. One of the few things I changed was that it wasn’t Einstein that Oppenheimer went to consult for, it was Arthur Compton who ran a Manhattan Project outpost at the University of Chicago. But I turned that over to Einstein.