Cillian Murphy undergoes physical transformation to play Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer for new biopic

Cillian Murphy has gone through an amazing physical transformation to play Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, in a £81million blockbuster. 

The Peaky Blinders star, 45, lost at least a stone to portray the tortured genius, who was a distinctively stooped and lanky figure, seldom seen without a cigarette.

An exclusive picture shows him and Matt Damon outside Fuller Lodge in the Los Alamos research facility, where the Christopher Nolan film, called Oppenheimer, has had permission to shoot, and where the atomic bomb was first built.

.

New look: Cillian Murphy (pictured with Matt Damon) has gone through a physical transformation to play Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, in a biopic

Original: A picture shows Cillian outside Fuller Lodge in the Los Alamos research facility, recreating the 1945 presentation (pictured) of the Army-Navy ‘E’ Award to the physicist 

Matt, 51, plays General Leslie R Groves, the commanding general of the Manhattan Project which built, designed and tested the world’s first atomic weapons.

In the picture, the men are recreating the 1945 presentation of the Army-Navy ‘E’ Award (the E stands for excellence in production of war equipment) to the physicist, who was stepping down as the facility’s director.

Share
19 shares

Cillian leads an all-star cast for the biopic, with British actresses Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh playing his wife and mistress, respectively.

Oscar winner Gary Oldman has a small role, said to be as President Truman. 

Biopic: Cillian leads an all-star cast for the biopic, with British actresses Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh playing his wife and mistress, respectively

Transformation: The Peaky Blinders star (left now and right in 2017), 45, lost at least a stone to portray the tortured genius, who was a distinctively stooped and lanky figure

Truman met Oppenheimer after the bombs were used in 1945, killing 200,000 people, and Oppenheimer said that he felt he had blood on his hands. 

Truman had little use for such pangs of conscience and dismissed him as a ‘crybaby scientist’.

Kenneth Branagh is also in the film, and rumour has it that he plays FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, who was suspicious of Oppie and his ‘Communist sympathies’. 

The cast also features Robert Downey, Rami Malek, Josh Hartnett and many more. Hartnett portrays Ernest Lawrence, who’s among the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project.

The pioneering American nuclear physicist won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron, which is a particle accelerator. 

New role: Cillian (left) will be taking on the lead role of J. Robert Oppenheimer (pictured right in 1963) in the biopic, which reportedly has a budget of $100million

Josh Peck plays American physicist Kenneth Bainbridge, the director of the Manhattan Project’s Trinity nuclear test during the development of the first atomic weapons.

The film is being adapted adapted from the 2006 book American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy Of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

The book, which won the Pulitzer Prize, details Oppenheimer’s personal life and his time leading the Manhattan Project in the early and mid-1940s.

Oppenheimer, which reportedly has a budget of $100million (£81million), is directed by Christopher Nolan.

True story: The film tells the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his contributions that lead to the creation of the atomic bomb (pictured left at Trinity Test Site in 1945)

Smart: Matt Damon (pictured on set last month) plays Lieutenant General Leslie Groves in the much-anticipated biopic

Cillian has cultivated a long relationship with Nolan, who tends to work with many of his supporting actors repeatedly.

The two first worked together on 2005’s Batman Begins, and Murphy appeared in its sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Night Rises, along with Inception and Dunkirk.

Nolan’s previous films include Batman Begins, Memento, Interstellar, Inception, Tenet and Dunkirk. 

He’s come a long way since we sat through Mr Turnbull’s history lessons together at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire.

Starring role: Emily Blunt plays Kitty (pictured right) was born in Germany in 1910 and immigrated to the United States in 1913. She married Oppenheimer in 1940

At work: Oppenheimer (pictured in 1945) was part of the research group was responsible for creating the first atomic bombs, and the devastating explosives used in World War II

Going back in time: Robert Downey Jr (pictured April 2018) is portraying Lewis Strauss (pictured right in 1954), who served two terms on the US Atomic Energy Commission

Having started production in late February, Nolan is expected to take more than five months to shoot, which if he keeps on schedule it would go until the beginning of August.

Oppenheimer is the first film to shoot in IMAX black-and-white analog photography, although its not known whether it will be done entirely in black-and-white.

Oppenheimer is set to be released on July 21, 2023, by Universal Pictures.

The current debut date is slated to come about two weeks before the harrowing anniversaries of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which happened on August 6 and August 9 in 1945. 

What was the Manhattan Project? 

A photo taken four seconds after Gadget’s detonation showing the tremendous fireball erupting in the early morning sky, proving the Manhattan Project a success

A joint effort between the U.S., the UK and Canada, the Manhattan Project was a research and development program that produced the first atomic bomb during the Second World War.

It began in 1939 as a modest operation, but grew to involve more than 130,000 people costing about $2billion working across 30 sites in America, Britain and Canada – some of them top secret.

The first-ever nuclear device was detonated in New Mexico on July 16 1945. Less than a month later it was unleashed on unsuspecting Japan.

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a massive atomic bomb on Hiroshima. 

Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which killed about 70,000 people.

President Harry Truman (center) presenting chemist Dr. James Conant with the Medal of Merit and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster. Dr. Vannevar Bush (left), who played critical leadership roles in the Manhattan Project which developed the Atomic Bomb

The genesis of the Manhattan Project began in 1938 when German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann inadvertently discovered nuclear fission. 

A few months later, Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard sent a letter to President Roosevelt, warning him that Germany might try to build an atomic bomb. 

In response, FDR formed the Uranium Committee, a group of top military and scientific experts to determine the feasibility of a nuclear chain reaction.

Funding first came in December 1942, when Roosevelt ordered an initial $500 million. The headquarters of the project was then moved from Manhattan to Washington DC, while other project sites were across the country. 

The weapons research laboratory was located Los Alamos, New Mexico, and would conduct most of the remaining research and construction of the A-bomb.

Workers laying up the graphite core of the Reactor-B atomic pile as part of the project. The pile was 36 feet high, measuring 28 by 36 feet. It was penetrated horizontally by 2,004 fuel tubes and vertically by channels for the vertical safety rods

Physicists, chemists, metallurgists, explosive experts and military personnel converged on the secret town, which grew to be the home of thousands of project workers. 

The Army was charged with supplying, supporting and guarding the top-secret work being carried out at the site.

Physicist Norris Bradbury was in charge of the final assembly of atomic device, known as the Gadget. 

Fellow physicist Seth Neddermeyer alongside George Kistiakowsky co-lead the design of the implosion-style Plutonium atomic bomb. 

Chemist Dr. James Conant and engineer Dr. Vannevar Bush played critical leadership roles in the Manhattan Project and were awarded the Medal of Merit and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster after the war.

The first nuclear device ever detonated was an implosion-type bomb at the Trinity test at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Advertisement