Cillian Murphy Creates the Atomic Bomb in Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt in Oppenheimer

For Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimerthe world is about to change.

On Monday, Universal Pictures released the official trailer for 52-year-old Nolan’s next movie, which stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project mastermind who helped develop the atomic bomb.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin, the film also features Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer.

Matt Damon also stars as General Leslie Groves Jr., director of the Manhattan Project, alongside Robert Downey Jr. nor Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the US Atomic Energy Commission.

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Oscar-nominee Florence Pugh meanwhile appears as psychiatrist Jean Tatlock in the thriller, which explores the paradox of “an enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it,” Universal said in a release.

Casey Affleck, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh also star.

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The Oppenheimer trailer debuted on IMAX screens across the world ahead of screenings for Avatar: The Way of Water upon its debut on Dec. 16 with a special version of the trailer that will not be made available online, according to the Associated Press.

In a statement to the AP issued Dec. 13, Nolan said that utilizing IMAX technology “is massively important in transporting the audience into the mind and experience of this person who forever altered our world.”

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

The director also said in a recent interview with Total Movie that he and the Oppenheimer production team re-created the first-ever nuclear weapon detonation for the film without using any CGI, calling the endeavor “a huge challenge to take on,” for GamesRadar.

Nolan explained that he brought on visual-effects supervisor Andrew Jackson “early on” in the project and that Jackson “was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreate, with my team, Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film.”

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OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

OPPENHEIMER, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer

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“In terms of the very harsh conditions out there — there were huge practical challenges,” he added.

Nolan told Total Movie that he’s “thrilled with what [his] team has been able to achieve” with Oppenheimer which, even aside from the special effects, is “a story of immense scope and scale.”

“And one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer’s story,” the director said. “There were big, logistical challenges, big practical challenges.”

Oppenheimer is in theaters July 21, 2023.