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Christopher Nolan’s biopic about the father of the A-bomb continues to attract Hollywood’s A-list.
Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Benny Safdie are the latest actors to bring their nuclear star power to Oppenheimer, Nolan’s biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which is set up at Universal Pictures.
The trio joins Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy on the call sheet in what has become one of the most stacked feature projects in recent memory.
Universal has called the movie an “epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.”
Murphy is leading the cast, portraying the theoretical physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb during World War II.
Pugh will play Jean Tatlock, a member of the Communist Party of the United States who has an off-and-on affair with Oppenheimer and was the cause of major security concerns for government officials.
Safdie will play Edward Teller, the Hungarian physicist who is known as the father of the hydrogen bomb and a member of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. research initiative that developed the first atomic bomb.
Malek is playing a scientist.
Already on the roll call are Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer and Damon as Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project. Downey is playing Lewis Strauss, the infamous chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission who initiated hearings that questioned Oppenheimer’s loyalty to the United States and famously had the scientist’s security clearance revoked.
Nolan wrote the script and is directing, while his creative partner and wife, Emma Thomas, is producing with Charles Roven of Atlas Entertainment. The project is based on American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin. Published in 2005, the book won the Pulitzer Prize.
The studio has set a July 21, 2023, release date for Oppenheimer.
Pugh, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in 2019’s Little Women, starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in Marvel’s Black Widow, which generated almost $380 million when it was released in July, a solid showing for a pandemic era release. She reprises her assassin spy character of Yelena Belova for the Hawkeye TV series, now unfolding on Disney+. She will next be seen as part of Olivia Wilde’s ensemble thriller, Don’t Worry Darling, which New Line will release Sept. 23, 2022.
Malek is coming off a villainous turn in James Bond movie No Time to Die, which, with a tally of $765 million, is the highest-grossing American movie of the year. The actor, who won an Oscar for his turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, will next appear in David O. Russell’s latest feature, an untitled drama due out next year.
Safdie is one half of the acclaimed directing duo, the Safdie Brothers, known for movies such as Good Time and Uncut Gems. Safdie is also an actor in his own right and plays a key role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza. He also has a role in Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi and Lionsgate’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Pugh is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and UK’s Curtis Brown Group. Malek is repped by WME and Brillstein, Safdie by WME, Untitled Entertainment and Lichter Grossman.
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