Oppenheimer‘s cinematic bow is fast approaching, and we can feel the weight of Christopher Nolan’s mighty biopic already; with an intoxicating combination of IMAX footage and practical effects, an ensemble cast that would make Wes Anderson jealous, and subject matter that will ravage even the smallest concentrations of empathy, Oppenheimer will be quite the watch.
Cillian Murphy leads the charge as the eponymous father of the atomic bomb, a role he seemed destined for after working with Nolan the way he has for so long, and a magnetic leading man needs an equally compelling supporting cast.
Enter the likes of Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon (and that’s just scratching the surface of the depth of talent boasted by Oppenheimer), the latter of which is set to portray Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, an American military officer and director of the Manhattan Project.
Judging by the trailers, it’s a role that Damon is approaching with all the gravity in the world, but you may not be able to tell by his description of the character alone. In an official behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast of Oppenheimer, the Air star likened the character of Groves to that of a kindergarten teacher, except instead of having to keep small children in line, he has to keep a group of outlandish scientists in check.
I tried to familiarize myself with Groves and the history, and then talked to Chris [Nolan] about what he needed for that part. Groves was almost like a kindergarten teacher in some respects, because these scientists were so eccentric, and not necessarily trustworthy if you’re looking through a military perspective
No matter how you swing it, Groves had one of the most important undertakings in history, and by all accounts, it looks like Damon, much like the talent that surrounds him, is pulling all the stops to do this story the proper justice. And, apparently, sometimes one of those stops happens to be the energy of a kindergarten teacher.
Oppenheimer drops in theaters on July 21.