Someone keep an eye on Christopher Nolan’s backyard to see if he’s building a nuclear bomb. The acclaimed filmmaker, known for using practical effects in productions like Dunkirk and The Dark Knight, is reportedly shopping a new movie centered on J. Robert Oppenheimer’s development of the atom bomb during World War II.
Update – October 8th: The film, officially titled Oppenheimer, will be released in theaters on July 21st, 2023 through Universal. Cillian Murphy is on board in the leading role.
According to Deadline, Nolan is eyeing to direct the picture and is currently sending the screenplay around Hollywood. That latter fact may actually be more interesting than hearing the auteur is making another WWII epic. Since 2002’s Insomnia, every one of Nolan’s projects has been set up at Warner Bros.; while it’s not known if WB is still in the mix for this nuke film, the idea that he’s considering going elsewhere shows how much Nolan’s soured on the studio.
When WarnerMedia decided to release WB Pictures’ entire 2021 slate day-and-date to HBO Max, Nolan was one of the most outspoken critics. Calling out the studio’s “arrogance,” he said, “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.”
It’s no surprise that a director who endows his work with such a sweeping sense of scale is a diehard theater believer. He was adamant that his last movie, Tenet, wasn’t pushed to streamers when it was released in September of last year — making it one of the last films WB showcased solely in cinemas before the day-and-date plans. The film made a disappointing $53.8 million at the domestic box office, as COVID-19 vaccines weren’t available yet and audiences were more hesitant to return to the movies.
Still, Nolan remains a firm believer in the theatrical experience, and WB’s disregard for such exclusivity has apparently damaged their relationship with the filmmaker.
Who ends up with Nolan’s a-bomb flick is anyone’s guess. As for who will star in it, rumors have it the writer-director’s frequent collaborator Cillian Murphy is in the mix.
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