Cillian Murphy gives opinion on Oppenheimer: 'I tried not to judge him'
The Peaky Blinders star explains how he doesn't have "one consistent" opinion on the 'father of the atomic bomb'.
The film serves as a deeply immersive – and densely detailed – character study of the man credited as the 'father of the atomic bomb', exploring his psyche before, during, and after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Oppenheimer is presented as an incredibly complex man with conflicting emotions, and so you might wonder how much Murphy's own view on the physicist changed throughout the process.
But when posed this question during an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, the Irish actor explained that he was actually the worst person to answer it.
"I was so immersed in it," he said, "and so involved in it, and I was trying not to judge the character at all times, and just trying to kind of understand it and give Chris [Nolan] the raw materials for his script."
He added: "I have lots of kind of varying opinions on him, but not one consistent."
Meanwhile, Florence Pugh – who plays one of Oppenheimer's romantic partners, Jean Tatlock – agreed that it was hard for those involved in the film to form a concrete opinion on the man.
"I think, for me, with any character that you play, you have to be their number one fan," she said. "You have to defend them, you have to be able to discuss where it is that they're at.
"And that even goes into the people that they come across. So, yeah, I think you have to be a supporter in all aspects of the story."
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Murphy worked extensively with Nolan while preparing to bring Oppenheimer to life, and asked if there was any one detail that helped him unlock the character, he explained that he approached his research from two different angles.
"I did an awful lot of reading, an awful lot of academic work, just looking at all the text that has been written about him and looking at all the archival material," he revealed.
"But then I worked a lot from the outside in, in terms of working on his kind of physical shape, his silhouette. Like how he spoke, how he walked, how he had a cigarette, his pipe, and all that.
"And [I] did a lot of that with Chris as well – so it was kind of two parallel strands."
Read an exclusive interview with Oppenheimer's Cillian Murphy in the latest issue of Radio Times magazine – out now.