Cillian Murphy is revealing his favorite “Oppenheimer” scene, but that doesn’t mean it was the most fun to film.

Murphy plays the title character of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the father of the atomic bomb, in Christopher Nolan’s epic film. The star-studded ensemble period piece is already on the Oscars shortlist in a slew of categories, with Murphy predicted to land a Best Actor nomination as well.

Talking with IndieWire’s Anne Thompson, Murphy singled out the courtroom interrogation scene as his favorite to film, despite taking place in a “tiny, awful, shitty little bureaucratic space” that made it difficult to film with large IMAX cameras.

“That whole sequence was my favorite to shoot because we shot it right at the end,” Murphy said. “We’d been through it all together. It was this insanely ambitious schedule — we shot it in 57 days, and we’re flying all over the country. In the end, we ended up in this tiny, awful, shitty little bureaucratic space, with the crew shoved at the end of the room with a huge IMAX camera and everyone squished in. It did get pretty fruity in there a couple of times.”

Murphy continued, “That was what they had done in real life to humiliate Oppenheimer, to make him feel worthless and useless. But for me, it brought me back to my theater days of just being a company of actors working together closely. I loved those huge tête-à-têtes with Jason [Clarke]. It was emotional, because everyone would come in, and it would be their last scene, and they would leave.”

The actor added that there are no deleted scenes in Nolan movies since the initial script is exactly what is filmed. “There is no chopping and changing of scenes, there’s no radical rearranging of the architecture of the script. It’s all there,” Murphy said. “It was a staggering piece of work. It was truly mind-blowing how he managed to condense this history-making time of the 20th century and put it into a movie and then to compress this man’s life, but at the same time make it feel entertaining and compelling.”

Leave a comment