Cillian Murphy Cast In Christoper Nolan's Next Film Oppenheimer, Release Date Announced

Confirming reports that have been circulating for at least a month, Cillian Murphy has inked a deal to appear in Christopher Nolan's next film, titled Oppenheimer, in the lead role. The film is said to be a World War II-era story centering on scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited as the "father of the atomic bomb." Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, and Sony were all in discussions with Nolan to take on the film, which will be released by Universal in 2023. Shot in IMAX, Oppenheimer will premiere in North American theaters on July 21, 2023.

The film is set to enter production in the first quarter of 2022. No additional cast is yet set, with Murphy having been rumored since the movie was being pitched. Murphy has worked with Nolan on a number of projects, including the Dark Knight Trilogy.

While it seems like a big change for Nolan, the filmmaker has worked with other studios besides Warner in the recent past. He produced The Prestige with Disney in 2006, while 2014's Interstellar was a partnership between Warner and Paramount, with Paramount distributing the film domestically.

Nolan is a brand unto himself, making movies that routinely cost over $100 million, but turn a profit on the strength of being "the new Christopher Nolan movie." Still, it is not clear what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on the box office, and so far, it seems many films are struggling to open big in theaters. Nolan's well-known aversion to digital releases could be a problem. Part of his problem with Warner Bros. was that he became upset when they moved their 2021 release slate to day-and-date release through HBO Max. 

Even before the HBO Max move, though, the Tenet release was rife with tension -- Nolan was vocal about his dissatisfaction with being delayed, and insistent that it be given a theatrical release to the point that the drew some criticism for ignoring the dangers of the pandemic so that he could screen the movie the way he wanted. This could be seen as an extension of Nolan's exacting technical standards, which limited the initial release of Dunkirk because many theaters did not have equipment and screens that met his technical specifications for an ideal viewing experience.

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Variety broke the casting and release date news this afternoon.