Don’t expect Christopher Nolan to make a light romantic comedy any time soon, but the filmmaker admits he’s after the “nihilistic” experience of ” Oppenheimer.
The acclaimed film follows the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and focuses on his role in the development of the world’s first atomic bomb.
“There’s definitely a part of me that wants to leave the story behind,” Nolan tells us in a new promotional interview This week’s home release from Oppenheimer, which hit theaters in July and eventually grossed $950 million worldwide amid deafening Oscar hype. “It’s a great privilege to be able to talk about a film you made that’s now playing at home on 4K, Blu-ray and everything else. It’s great to be able to sit here and talk to you about the success of the film. That is a great privilege. But the topic is very dark. It’s nihilistic and yes, there’s a part of me that’s very interested in moving on and maybe doing something that’s not quite so dark.”
The star-studded and critically acclaimed film is currently the all-time favorite will win Best Picture at the 2024 Academy Awardsas well as the “Best Director” statue. This escaped the filmmaker for a long time. The 53-year-old London native has received five nominations (for writing) so far MemoryWriting and producing beginningas well as directing and producing Dunkirk), but never won.
Despite critical admiration Oppenheimer was also criticized – not for what Nolan portrayed on screen, but for what he did not: the devastation, death toll and subsequent suffering of the Japanese after the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.
The most prominent comment was probably Spike Lee, who called Oppenheimer “It’s a great film,” he said Washington Post that he would have liked to see “a few more minutes about what happened to the Japanese people.” People were vaporized. Many years later, people are radioactive. It’s not like [Nolan] had no electricity. He tells the studios what to do.”
Nolan is even-tempered and even grateful for Lee’s comments, as is his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas.
“Well, I mean, Spike Lee is one of my idols, and for him to say that, he thought Oppenheimer “It was a great film, that’s what I focused on,” laughs Nolan. “No, I was just overwhelmed. And he was very specific and respectful and said that he would have done a certain thing because he’s a different filmmaker and different filmmakers interpret things differently. Honestly, I was just thrilled that he got something out of the film.
“For me, when it comes to approaching a particular film, I want the film to speak for itself. I could sit here and explain why I did things or defended things or whatever, but ultimately the experience of the film is what the audience makes of it. That’s kind of the ultimate answer.”
“When I looked at what he said, it was kind of perfect,” Thomas says of it Do the right thing And Malcolm X Director. “He was just talking about the film he would have made, and that’s always really fascinating to me, the way different directors take a subject and do different things with it. Chris knew from the start that he wanted to tell this story from the perspective of J. Robert Oppenheimer himself, so much so that he even wrote the script in the first person. And the way Oppenheimer gets the information about what happened to his invention is exactly how it happened in real life. He heard about it on the radio, just like the rest of America. And so the way Chris told the story was very true to what happened in real life and also the way he intended the story to be told.”
Nolan, who has called Oppenheimer “the most important person who ever lived,” says the film was originally conceived out of his own fear of nuclear Armageddon, although he doesn’t consider filmmaking as the “activism” of the biopic pulls.
“When I first talked to my 16-year-old son about the issue I was dealing with, he actually said to me a few years ago, ‘Well, no one really worries about that anymore.’ “It’s not really something that’s on people’s radars,” Nolan recalls. “And I said to him at the time: ‘Maybe that’s a reason to make the film.’ And given the changes in the world in recent years, unfortunately he no longer asks that question. Nobody asks this question anymore. People are very aware of the dangers. I think that for me films have to be entertainment first and foremost, and it’s a strange word to use this topic, but they have to be entertainment. They have to be captivating. Whether it is a horror film or a romantic comedy or not, the point is to captivate the audience and give them a very compelling story.
“I think with you OppenheimerI was hoping that the seriousness of the subject matter would resonate beyond the story, beyond the actual dramatic experience of watching the film. But I feel like when I’m overconfident as a filmmaker or trying to tell people what to think or being a didactic, it tends to turn people off. You feel this effort. And sometimes I feel that strain in films, and ironically you’re less receptive to the filmmaker’s intentions. So for me it’s really about engaging the audience in a great story and if I’ve done my job right then hopefully there will be resonances beyond that. Perhaps simply by bringing my own fear of nuclear Armageddon, my own fear of how these weapons might one day be used, to the forefront of the story. Hopefully that resonates with people.”
If Oppenheimer is the greatest man who ever lived, so be it Oppenheimer Nolan’s most important film to date?
“I definitely think it’s an important film,” Thomas says. “I think the story it tells is one that people thought they knew, but then when they see it they realize, ‘No, we don’t understand the significance of this moment in history and this particular man completely understood.’ [But] I don’t know if I can rightly say that it is the most important of his films. And by the way, he’s not finished yet. So who knows where he’ll go next?”
Oppenheimer is available on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on Tuesday, November 21st.