Christoper Nolan’s Oppenheimer Is So Accurate Even The Extras Are Brilliant Scientists

Even the extras have a story in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer. Based on American Prometheus by authors Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Oppenheimer follows the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the man known as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb”. The film walks through the development of the first nuclear weapons through the developments at Project Manhattan during World War II.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nolan explained that he made sure certain extras cast in Oppenheimer were real-world scientists with a firm understanding of nuclear weapons. While Murphy was desperate to play the lead for Nolan, he was gearing up to play a nuclear physicist without much experience in science. Thankfully, he had those experts around him who were more than happy to offer in-depth speeches about nuclear arms. Check out Nolan’s quote below:

“I was thinking that it even applied to the extras. We were in the real Los Alamos and we had a lot of real scientists as extras. We needed the crowd of extras to give reactions, and improvise, and we were getting sort of impromptu, very educated speeches. It was really fun to listen to. You’ve been on sets where you’ve got a lot of extras around and they’re more or less thinking about lunch. These guys were thinking about the geopolitical implications of nuclear arms and knew a lot about it. It actually was a great reminder every day of: We have to be really on our game, we have to be faithful to the history here, and really know what we’re up to.”

How Nolan Is Ensuring An Accurate Oppenheimer

It isn’t too much of a surprise that the experts around Oppenheimer would influence them to stay on track and focused on Project Manhattan. After all, they were all well-versed in the influence of nuclear weapons on worldwide politics and their day-to-day experiences. Their involvement just shows Nolan’s commitment to ensuring that he can make Oppenheimer into the thriller that he needs it to be.
The true story of Oppenheimer changed the world and continues to influence it even today. Any inaccuracies will be noticed and picked apart. Nolan is well aware of that fact, which is why the $100 million biography is so insistent on staying the course. It isn’t Nolan’s first foray into science-focused films after the epic Interstellar drew criticism for some inaccurate applications of theoretical physics.
Oppenheimer, however, should be easier to get right. Most of the topics in Oppenheimer are settled science and not-so-distant history, making it easier for Nolan to delve into the details through more than just reading academic papers. Yet, if he intends to get audiences invested, he needs to ensure that everything is as right as it is interesting. While it was a practical challenge for Nolan, his move to include real scientists as extras at least made the science simpler. It’s exactly how Oppenheimer can be a realistic and epic story of a world-changing invention.
Source: EW

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