The planned film is reportedly set to focus on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for his part in the Manhattan Project, the endeavour to develop the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945. The following month, atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 people – mostly civilians.
Deadline broke news of the project, reporting that while details are hard to come by at this stage, actor Cillian Murphy “might be involved”. Murphy has previously worked with Nolan on the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk.
Interestingly, this film could find Nolan leaving Warner Bros, the studio that he has worked with for around 20 years; only The Prestige and Interstellar weren’t under Warners (Prestige was with Disney and Interstellar was with both Warners and Paramount). As reported by THR, Nolan and his team are currently chatting to Sony and Universal, although Warners and Paramount are in talks as well. Even Netflix “should not be counted out of the running”, as they have given various films theatrical runs, which is of upmost importance for Nolan. Still no official word from these studios in what is likely a competitive situation.
The relationship between Nolan and Warners appeared to get a little bumpy with the release of Tenet. The film experienced a number of release delays as the pandemic unfolded, with Nolan holding steadfast on giving the film a theatrical release. While delayed, Nolan got his wish, and Tenet was released theatrically in markets where cinemas were open. The film managed to gross $US363 million worldwide; not great for a Nolan tentpole pic, but a solid draw for a pandemic release.
Nolan has also been quite outspoken against Warner’s decision to release their 2021 line-up simultaneously in cinemas and on their streaming service, HBO Max. “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan said in December 2020.
“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theatres and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”
Stay tuned as Nolan’s next film finds a home and gets underway.