As a filmmaker, Christopher Nolan takes pride in writing and directing movies that make people stop and think. His work is certainly out of the ordinary, projects that don’t fall under one plain genre. From biographical movies to superhero flicks, his filmography runs deep and wide simultaneously. His latest blockbuster Oppenheimer was released last year, but it has not stopped making headlines to date. The movie has received numerous nominations across categories in all major award ceremonies this year.

Christopher Nolan Reveals a Fact that Plagues him

Christian Bale in The Dark Knight

In a conversation with Deadline about his experience with Cillian Murphy and the fact that Oppenheimer is a global success, Christopher Nolan dives into his journey as a filmmaker. The interview is an all-cards-on-the-table outlook on Nolan’s process of bringing a film alive on the big screen. Talking about Oppenheimer’s emotional and political struggle, he stresses the fact that war heroes were not recognized back then. Their contributions were overlooked and as he says, “Oppenheimer became a punching bag in a politically charged kangaroo court.”

In extension, he remembers a fact about his superhero flick that bothers him to this day. Nolan reveals how he did not write that one memorable line from The Dark Knight that resonates with people even after so many years. That one dialogue proves true poetically for how Oppenheimer’s journey unfolded over time. He said,

“I’m plagued by a line from The Dark Knight, and I’m plagued by it because I didn’t write it. My brother [Jonathan] wrote it. It kills me, because it’s the line that most resonates. And at the time, I didn’t even understand it. He says, ‘You either die a hero or you live long enough to become the villain.’ I read it in his draft, and I was like, ‘All right, I’ll keep it in there, but I don’t really know what it means. Is that really a thing?’ And then, over the years since that film’s come out, it just seems truer and truer. In this story, it’s absolutely that. Build them up, tear them down. It’s the way we treat people.”

Also Read: Why Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer Cinematographer Found Filming Black and White Scenes “Concerning”

Despite not writing that dialogue, he claims how he came to understand the essence of the feeling after making Oppenheimer. As ambitious as Nolan is, it is understandable how it plagues him to not have been the one behind that iconic dialogue. The director is known for his battle for creative freedom and for following traditional theatrical practices. He believes in staying true to the vision he has in mind for the story, and that one sentence encapsulates the journey of villains who wreak havoc on Gotham City.

Today, almost every actor in the industry yearns to work with Nolan. His immaculate eye for detail and knack for making films with a particularly niche audience attract actors and crew worldwide. The Memento director has been nominated for Best Director for Oppenheimer this year. Despite 49 nominations and 11 wins at the Oscars for all his movies combined, Nolan is yet to receive an Academy Award for his splendid contribution to the industry.

Christopher Nolan’s Underrated Talent

Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow in Dark Knight Trilogy
Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow in The Dark Knight Trilogy

Nolan is not just an award-winning writer and director, but a wonderful casting director too. Though behind the scenes, he has the talent of identifying which actor is a better fit for which role, a trick that ensures the incredible success of all his movies. Murphy has accepted how the role of Scarecrow put him on the map. Nobody knew him before he starred in the massively successful franchise, that too after Nolan fought to get him on board. In the interview with Deadline, Murphy, an actor who has worked with Nolan for many years now, revealed,

“But I also think I felt, back then, that that was a part I hadn’t really explored before, that kind of physically imposing character. I’d never been offered those parts. But I always think, Chris, that one of your underrated strengths is casting. Everyone knows all of your amazing strengths, but you cast things exquisitely. And I think the Scarecrow was the right part for me to be in at that time in my career.”

Oppenheimer dominates the Oscars 2024
Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer

Also Read: Christopher Nolan Explains Why Tenet isn’t a “Conventional Time Travel” Movie

Murphy and Nolan’s collaboration began with the latter casting the actor as Scarecrow in The Dark Knight. After working on the Batman movie, the duo understood the rhythm and saw how compatible they were. So, when the time came to cast the titular character in Nolan’s biographical movie on Robert Oppenheimer, he had to look no further than Murphy.

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