Uh-oh: The guy who played the villain in Tenet who wanted to build some kind of device that would destroy the world in complicated backward-time ways has joined the cast of Oppenheimer, the new film from Tenet director Christopher Nolan about a guy who does build a device that seemed like it might destroy the world (and still could). We’re talking about Kenneth Branagh, who will not be playing the guy who built the device (that will be Cillian Murphy, starring as Manhattan Project member J. Robert Oppenheimer), but he will be playing someone else.
This comes from Deadline, which is a little light on the details, but production on the film has already begun so it stands to reason that Branagh isn’t playing someone hugely important. Nolan famously loves to reuse actors, so even putting a big name like Branagh in a small role would be a pretty expected move coming from Nolan—if only because it keeps Branagh in the Nolan family after Dunkirk and the aforementioned Tenet.
On the other hand, Branagh’s Belfast is up for loads of Oscars, so does he really need to pop up in a small role in a Nolan movie to remind people he exists? Surely we’ll all still be talking about his two turns as Hercule Poirot when Oppenheimer comes out on July 21, 2023. Maybe they’ll have announced a third by then, but… it seems unlikely.
In other Oppenheimer news, Universal has released a photo of Murphy as the eponymous scientist, making it the very first still of any kind we’ve seen from this movie. There’s not much to say about it—it’s Cillian Murphy in a hat and with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth—but it’s certainly moody. That’s to be expected from this project, though. This isn’t going to be one of those “fun” Christopher Nolan movies, barring some kind of bizarrely unexpected tonal decisions.