Who’s who in ‘Oppenheimer!’ The world is preparing for the release of 2023’s most explosive film. Let’s take a look at the real-life scientists who inspired the cast of Nolan‘s blockbuster.
The ensemble features an impressive roster of actors. Including Oscar winner Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and more. The film revisits the historic development of the atomic bomb.
Who’s Who in Christopher Nolan‘s ‘Oppenheimer’
It re-tells the story behind the men and women who played a pivotal role in changing the world forever. Oscar-winner Emily Blunt plays Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. Kitty is the younger wife of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.
She was an important part of the team that worked on the Manhattan Project and was present for the Trinity nuclear test. Despite her impressive scientific brain, Kitty was not one to conform to the ideals of housewifery.
She was a strong supporter of civil rights and fought against racial discrimination. Both of which earned her a place on the blacklist during the McCarthy era. Numb3rs star David Krumholtz steps into genius-playing territory as Isidor Isaac Rabi.
Rabi is a colleague of Oppenheimer’s who helped him with the Manhattan Project. Though he had to decline to work on the hydrogen bomb because of his opposition. Like many other scientists at the time, Rabi worried about nuclear proliferation.
He worried that the US would eventually lose the race for a powerful weapon to the Soviet Union. Josh Hartnett plays Ernest Lawrence the physicist who recruited Oppenheimer to Los Alamos. He was the primary force behind the development of the nuclear bomb.
Lawrence was not as egotistical as the character portrayed in the movie. He did not believe that the Soviets had an atomic weapon first, which made him reluctant to escalate the situation. Nevertheless, he pushed the bomb’s development even after Oppenheimer opposed it.
Benny Safdie plays theoretical physicist Edward Teller, who was hired by Groves to work with Oppenheimer at Los Alamos. A Hungary native, Teller pushed for the production of the hydrogen bomb in contrast to the stance of his friend Oppenheimer, who was against it because of its destruction capabilities. Teller was a member of the American Communist Party in the 1930s.
The FBI investigated him as a result of the Red Scare. Downey is Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Strauss investigated Oppenheimer for potential communistic intentions during WWII.
Though he didn’t think the physicist was a spy, Strauss urged they revoke his clearance. Rami Malek nabbed a small but pivotal role as Chicago-based experimental physicist Klaus Fuchs. A Los Alamos employee was suspected of working for the Soviets on uranium enrichment.
The film’s plot centers around two committee hearings that took place in 1954 and 1959. The later hearing is depicted in black and white, which gives it a more serious tone. The film also includes scenes from the first hearing that are presented in color.