Cillian Murphy said during an interview on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast that Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” was made on a relentlessly fast schedule. “We made the movie unbelievably quickly. We made it in 57 days,” the actor revealed. “The pace of that was insane.”
By comparison, Nolan’s World War II survival thriller “Dunkirk” shot for 68 days, and his massive spy movie “Tenet” shot for 96 days. Murphy is front and center in a majority of “Oppenheimer” scenes, making the shorter shooting schedule all the more intense for the actor.
“The sets are huge, but it feels like being on an independent movie,” Murphy added about working with Nolan, which he has been doing for over 20 years now. “There’s just Chris and the cameraman — one camera always, unless there’s some huge, huge set piece — and the boom op and that’s it. There’s no video village, there’s no monitors, nothing. He’s a very analog filmmaker.”
Even though “Oppenheimer” shot for 57 days, which is one of Nolan’s shorter shoots, the film runs three hours and is the longest of the director’s career. The cast and crew lived together in the same hotel during the film’s production, but Murphy never joined his fellow ensemble for dinner due to the intensity of playing the lead role.
“Of course he didn’t want to come and have dinner with us,” Matt Damon recently told People magazine. “He couldn’t. His brain was just too full.”
Emily Blunt reasoned that Murphy did not attend cast dinners because “the sheer volume of what he had to take on and shoulder is so monumental.”
For Murphy, “Oppenheimer” marks the biggest leading role of his film career thus far. That kind of pressure isolated the actor. “You know that when you have those big roles, that responsibility, you feel it’s kind of overwhelming,” he told People.
Nolan and Murphy’s working relationship now includes six movies: Three Batman films, “Inception,” “Dunkirk” and “Oppenheimer.” Notably, the upcoming atomic bomb drama marks Murphy’s first time headlining a Nolan picture in the lead role. He told the Associated Press earlier this year that he “was desperate” to lead a Nolan movie.
“I have always said publicly and privately, to Chris, that if I’m available and you want me to be in a movie, I’m there. I don’t really care about the size of the part,” Murphy said. “But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him.”
“Oppenheimer” opens in theaters July 21 from Universal Pictures.