Christopher Nolan wanted to make Oppenheimer when he was a teenager
- Bang Showbiz
- 23 July 2023
Christopher Nolan has wanted to make 'Oppenheimer' since he was a teenager and has spent time in the intervening decades gathering enough information to bring the war drama to the screen
Christopher Nolan has wanted to make 'Oppenheimer' since he was a teenager.
The 52-year-old director is at the helm of the nuclear biopic that stars Cillian Murphy as the man responsible for the research and design of an atomic bomb during World War II and explained that the life of the historic scientist had been "on his radar" for decades before eventually bringing it to the big screen.
He told The Bulletin: "It’s something that’s been on my radar for a number of years. I was a teenager in the ‘80s, the early ‘80s in England. It was the peak of CND, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Greenham Common [protest]; the threat of nuclear war was when I was 12, 13, 14—it was the biggest fear we all had. I think I first encountered Oppenheimer in that relation; I think he was referred to in Sting’s song about the Russians that came out then and talks about Oppenheimer’s “deadly toys.” He was part of the pop culture then, without us knowing a lot about him."
The 'Batman' director went on to add that he eventually got hold of the necessary information and even put a reference to 'Oppenheimer' in one of his recent movies.
He added: "And at some point, in the intervening decades, I got ahold of the information, the fact that the scientists at Los Alamos at a point had determined there was a small statistical possibility that the Trinity test would ignite the atmosphere and destroy all life on Earth. They couldn’t mathematically, theoretically, completely eliminate that possibility; they went ahead anyway. And that struck me as the most dramatic situation in the history of the world, with any sort of possibility being an end to life on Earth. That’s a responsibility that nobody else in the history of the world had ever faced.
"I put a reference to that in my last film, Tenet; there’s dialogue, a reference to that exact situation by Oppenheimer. That film deals with a science-fiction extrapolation of that notion: Can you put the toothpaste back in the tube? The danger of knowledge, once knowledge is unveiled—once it’s known, once it’s fact—you can’t wind the clock back and put that away."
'Oppenheimer' is in cinemas now.