Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon are the next actors to join Christopher Nolan’s upcoming feature that focuses on the race for the atomic bomb and the man at the core of the Manhattan Project, theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Downey Jr. and Damon will star in the film alongside one of Nolan’s favorites, Cillian Murphy, who will play Oppenheimer himself.
Murphy’s A Quiet Place co-star Emily Blunt is currently in talks to join the cast, as reported last week. She’s slated to play Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Universal describes the $100 million budget project as an “epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.”
Nolan is writing and directing the film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin.
Considered the “father of the atomic bomb,” Oppenheimer was present for the Trinity Test in New Mexico in July 1945, after which he famously said, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Two months later, the weapon of mass destruction was dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
According to sources associated with The Hollywood Reporter, Damon will play Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project. Downey is set to play Lewis Strauss, the Atomic Energy Commissioner. During Strauss’ tenure as commissioner, he initiated hearings that questioned Oppenheimer’s loyalty to the United States and infamously had the scientist’s security revoked in 1953.
Production on the film is set to commence in early 2022. In classic Nolan fashion, Oppenheimer will debut in theaters on July 21, 2023.