Cillian Murphy says Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ isn’t what we’re expecting

cillian murphy
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Cillian Murphy attends "A Quiet Place Part II" World Premiere at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 8, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)

Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie Oppenheimer reads on paper as perhaps the most straightforward feature we’ve ever seen from a director that forged his reputation on toying with structure, convention, and the idea of time itself.

While Dunkirk saw him tackle real historical events, Nolan was still able to take some creative liberties by splitting the focus between land, sea, and air, placing fictional characters in a real-life situation in order to suit the narrative he wanted to tell.

That definitely isn’t the case with his next feature, though, with Robert J. Oppenheimer’s life and legacy not exactly the sort of thing you can deviate from too heavily without veering too far away from the facts. However, leading man Cillian Murphy has teased that the biographical drama isn’t going to be what we’re expecting.

While he inevitably admitted to Esquire that he can’t say much about Oppenheimer on pain of death, the Peaky Blinders star did offer the merest tease that we shouldn’t go in expecting a by-the-numbers biopic.

“It’s the first time he’s cast me in a lead, which I’m still a bit in shock about, but I’m thrilled. It’s a huge part and a lot of work. But in my estimation, you’re working with one of the greatest living directors, so you’re in safe hands. The difference with this one is the story is there, everybody knows what happened. But Chris is telling it in a different way, as with Chris you would expect. That’s all I can say… I’m not going to say. They’d kill me — they’re so strict!”

With a cast that finds Murphy supported by Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, and Josh Hartnett, it’s safe to assume that some A-grade acting is on the agenda. Outside of that, though, we’re very curious to see how Oppenheimer functions if it’s planning to shy away from the biopic trappings we’ve become accustomed to.

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Scott Campbell

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