After running straight headfirst into the pandemic with his would-be billion-dollar blockbuster, “Tenet” and causing a stir last year with the fight to put movies in theaters, Christopher Nolan has found his next film. According to Deadline, it’s about physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atom Bomb development during WWII.
The rub for Warner Bros., as they’re likely already aware, is Nolan is talking to multiple movie studios who are not them. Nolan had been reportedly very disappointed with the day and date model that WB. decided at the beginning of 2021 with movie simultaneously on HBO Max, but allegedly not very happy with the way “Tenet” was handled by the studio in total, a release date that kept moving, a hedging bets approach and a box office number that is tiny compared to most of Nolan’s releases ($363.7 million worldwide which is not really bad when you consider it was still the height of the pandemic, but this was a film that suffered from unfortunate timing).
Part of Nolan’s issue with WarnerMedia, in general, is how they handled the day-and-date announcement: suddenly, without consulting any of their film partners or talents and the ‘Dark Knight’ has always been very vocal and adamant about the theatrical experience.
Deadline does not share the names of other competitors, but several studios that are not WB have the script and are talking to his reps (Variety says Universal and Sony are among some of the names). One has to wonder if Netflix is one of them: the streaming service is seemingly one of the last places Nolan would want to go because they do not really put out their movies in theaters and when they do, it’s often token and small. But Netflix has admitted they are adamant about trying to lure him onto their streaming service (and they do so with big upfront and production dollars: people like Nolan get paid, and their budgets are huge).
Deadline doesn’t have many details but says that Cillian Murphy could be involved, and one must wonder if that’s for the lead role. Murphy is a mainstay of Nolan’s film world, having worked with him several times in ‘The Dark Knight’ films, “Inception,” and “Dunkirk.”
In August 1945, the weapons Oppenheimer helped created were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and effectively ended WWII once Japan surrendered shortly thereafter. One has to wonder if Nolan could turn the Oppenheimer story into both a moral tale—should he be creating this weapon of mass destruction—and a thriller as the Allies race to create a weapon that can end WWII.