Christopher Nolan is returning to historical dramas, and this time the renowned director with a time fetish is telling the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer: father of the atomic bomb. Universal Pictures is set to make Nolan’s upcoming film with a budget of $100 million. Nolan’s partnership with Universal marks the first time the Inception director will be parting ways with Warner Bros. in almost 20 years.
Three of Nolan’s four most commercially successful films come from The Dark Knight Trilogy. However, the director proved his talents could reach beyond superhero and science fiction films with 2017’s Dunkirk, the Oscar-winning tale of the pivotal evacuation of Allied forces in World War II. The cerebral intensity of Nolan’s style and his mastery of the psychological-thriller genre should again pair well with the historical drama of the US’ secret operation to end World War II by winning the race to develop the bomb.
Oppenheimer was a theoretical physicist and the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory during WWII. He spearheaded the development of the first nuclear weapon in an endeavor code-named the Manhattan Project, which is credited with ending the war. Upon seeing the first successful detonation of an atomic weapon, Oppenheimer famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita, saying, “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
His prescient words reflected the realization that he had created a weapon that would forever change the course of human history. Less than one month later, the United States dropped Oppenheimer’s bombs on the Empire of Japan, killing more than 100,000 people and negating the need for a costly invasion to end WWII.
Nolan wrote the script about Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, and he likely cut ties with his longtime partners at Warner Bros. because of the studio’s decision to release all 2021 titles simultaneously on HBO Max, a move he was openly critical of. Though there are no official casting announcements, Cillian Murphy — a frequent casting choice for Nolan — is rumored to be attached to the film. Filming is set to begin in 2022.