Christopher Nolan's son told him 'young people aren't concerned' about nukes while making “Oppenheimer”

Christopher Nolan's son told him 'young people aren't concerned' about nukes while making “Oppenheimer”

Nolan hoped to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear warfare making the Best Picture winner.

Barbieheimer might have done more than just boost the summer box office.

After accepting the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, Oppenheimer writer-director Christopher Nolan told the press that his kids weren't all that impressed with the subject matter of his award-winning film. And he realized that making a movie about the issue might be able to move the needle.

"It was very striking to me when I first got involved on the project. I told one of my teenage sons what I was working on, and he actually said to me, 'Well, young people aren’t that concerned about nuclear weapons,'" Nolan said in the press room. "It’s not really in the forefront of their fears, and that did seem to me to be something that this film could to some extent help with."

<p>Universal Pictures</p> Cillian Murphy in 'Oppenheimer'

Universal Pictures

Cillian Murphy in 'Oppenheimer'

"As far as any kind of broader message, the thing that I would like to point out is the film ends on what I would consider a dramatic necessary moment of despair," Nolan continued. "In reality, I don’t think despair is the answer to the nuclear question. If you look at the work and all of the preparation that has been done by individuals since 1945, there’s been a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons on the planet since 1967, almost 90 percent. In the last few years, it’s gone the wrong way. And it’s very important rather than despair, in reality, people are looking at advocacy of supporting organizations working to pressure politicians and leaders to reduce nuclear weapons on our planet and making it safe."

Nolan also clarified that he never purposefully makes a film to send audiences a message, but rather hopes that it's something they take away more organically from the story's narrative arc.

"I don’t like to speak too specifically about messages that films are making because I feel that if cinema is didactic, it tends not to work dramatically so well," he said.

Oppenheimer tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) from his days as a university student to his role in developing the atomic bomb with the Manhattan Project to the 1954 security hearing that effectively ended his career.

Nolan, inspired by the book American Prometheus, also wrote the script for his hit film. With over $960 million in box office returns, Oppenheimer was the third-highest-grossing film of 2023 and the highest-grossing biopic ever made. For a lengthy movie not based on an existing franchise, Oppenheimer far exceeded expectations.

It was an awards darling throughout the season, leading the pack at the Academy Awards with 13 nominations and seven wins, including trophies for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Cinematography, Score, and Editing.

See the full list of 2024 Oscars winners here.

Reporting by Lauren Huff.

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