The atomic bomb’s development is covered in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which is currently playing in theaters. It features a large ensemble of well-known actors playing physicists, politicians, military figures, and more physicists. But which celebrity plays which scientific and influential person? Learn more about the cast and their individual characters in the table below.
The principal character of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited as the “father of the atomic bomb” and the man in charge of the Manhattan Project during World War II, was given to longstanding collaborator Cillian Murphy by director Christopher Nolan. Nolan said to EW how he let Murphy know he wanted him for the role: “No one knew what I was doing, no one knew what I was up to.” One of my favorite moments in the movie industry was when I was able to pick up the phone and say, “This is the one where you carry the movie and really get to show what you can do.”
To play Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty, who moved to New Mexico with her husband once he took over the Manhattan Project, Emily Blunt reconnected with her A Quiet Place Part II co-star Murphy. Before the SAG-AFTRA strike began, the actress spoke with EW’s Around the Table panel about how she met Chris in Los Angeles. We spoke for almost an hour, and then he said, “So it’s the part of his wife and I’d love you to take a look at it,” in a very casual manner. You then ask, “Is this an offer?” [Laughs] I then read the script in the living room, and my heart was beating the entire time. It was really amazing.
The lead supporting role of Lewis Strauss, the Atomic Energy Commission’s chairman whose General Advisory Committee was presided over by Oppenheimer, was given to Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. by director Christopher Nolan. Downey was astonished to learn that the screenplay for Oppenheimer came on red paper for security reasons when he initially received it at Nolan’s residence. The joke was made by Downey, who said, “I guess there’s something about it that makes it that you forget it as soon as you read it.” “I have no idea what those hues are. Anyhow, it exists. When you finish reading the script, the author asks. The script is written in the first person, transporting you and making it a journey for you to read.
In 1983’s Reuben, Reuben, Scottish actor Tom Conti received an Oscar nomination for his performance as an alcoholic poet. He later made an appearance on Friends as the father of Emily Mortimer’s character. He plays Einstein, a well-known physicist and resident researcher at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Research, whose director Oppenheimer served from 1947 to 1966. Oppenheimer himself served as the institute’s director from 1947 to 1966.