Oppenheimer was one of the biggest and most anticipated films of 2023, alongside Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. It surpassed even the creator’s magnum opus, Interstellar, in terms of success and critical acclaim, and fans are sure that Nolan will be running as a contender for the Oscars again. It is the second-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time behind Joker and the highest-grossing biographical film of all time (surpassing Bohemian Rhapsody) as of now. Many media outlets termed the movie “one of the best films of the 21st century.”
Tom Conti played the brief role of Albert Einstein in Oppenheimer. However, Christopher Nolan made the 81-year-old star Tom Conti miserable over a ridiculous demand to provide realism in his movie. Tom Conti was not happy about it and opened up in Jada Yuan’s Unleashing Oppenheimer: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Explosive Atomic-Age Thriller about the painstaking process.
Tom Conti opens up about the miserable time he had for Oppenheime
As per John Papsidera, the casting director of Oppenheimer, Tom Conti was anything but happy to grow a mustache and his hair for the role of Albert Einstein in the movie. According to Unleasing Oppenheimer, Tom Conti called it a “hirsute appearance:”
“That was the worst part about this whole thing because I hate hair that long and can’t stand having a mustache. I mean, you can’t eat soup, spaghetti, anything like that. Life is greatly diminished with this hirsute appearance.”
(Via. Slash Film)
Even though Tom Conti absolutely did not like growing his hair, he did, however, do his best to bring the role to life. He watched hundreds of videos of the scientist and tried to master his German accent. He understood the nuances of the character and his relationship with Oppenheimer. It is said that, in reality, Einstein and Oppenheimer only shared a cordial bond because they belonged to the same field and were immensely competitive. However, there was an underlying respect that founded the bond. Tom Conti did a brilliant job of bringing out the subtle shades of their layered professional relationship in the movie.
Christopher Nolan scheduled Oppenheimer shoots around Cillian Murphy’s haircut
Christopher Nolan’s dedication to bringing Oppenheimer to life was absolutely commendable. Besides having a “Zero CGI” policy, Nolan also restricted the use of wigs for the movie to bring in absolute authenticity. While talking to the New York Times, Christopher Nolan said that he filmed the movie around Cillian Murphy’s haircut schedule so he does not have to wear a wig, saying:
“I did insist on scheduling [shooting] around Cillian’s haircut. Because I’m very allergic to wigs in movies. I really wanted the film to not have any obvious artifice when it came to the way characters presented themselves.”
In a 2019 interview with Vulture, Cillian Murphy revealed the same aversion towards wigs as Nolan:
“Yeah, but it’s fine. I don’t generally do wigs. I think they look phony. If I see that a character has to wear a wig, I generally won’t do the part. I’ve gotten more tolerant of the haircut over the years. And bizarrely, it’s become a desirable cut amongst the fashionistas, which is staggering to me. It’s one more sign of how the show has infiltrated the mainstream culture.”
Cillian Murphy did a fantastic job as J Robert Oppenheimer in the movie, and all his dedication to the role paid off with immense critical acclaim and love from the audience. He brought everything that was necessary for the role and anchored the film. It was truly one of the best performances of his life.
Oppenheimer is now available to buy/rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and YouTube.