Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer Has Added A Black Widow Star And More To Its Impressive Cast

Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Benny Safdie in respective movies
(Image credit: Marvel Studios and MGM)

Up until a few months ago, we had no idea what movie Christopher Nolan would tackle next after giving Tenet to the masses. Now that’s no longer a secret; the filmmaker is putting together a biopic about theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his work on the atomic bomb. Since the project’s existence was revealed in December, Nolan and the Oppenheimer team have recruited some top-notch talent for its cast, and now one of the lead stars of the Black Widow movie has been recruited into the lineup, along with two other notable names.

Fresh off her return as Yelena Belova in the Disney+ series Hawkeye, it’s been revealed that Florence Pugh will appear in Oppenheimer as Jean Tatlock, a member of the Communist Party in the United States who had an on-and-off relationship with Robert Oppenheimer and was caused many security concerns for the U.S. government. Per THR, Pugh will be joined in the movie by No Time to Die’s Rami Malek and Licorice Pizza’s Benny Safdie. The former will play a yet-to-be-identified scientist and the latter will play Edward Teller, a Hungarian physicist who worked with Oppenheimer on that Manhattan Project.

These three will act opposite Cillian Murphy, who’s been cast as Robert Oppenheimer and previously worked with Christopher Nolan on the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk. A few weeks after Murphy’s casting was revealed, word came in that Emily Blunt was brought aboard to play Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine Oppenheimer. Then by early November, it was reported that Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon will appear in the biopic respectively as Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission who questioned Oppenheimer’s loyalty to the United States and revoked his security clearance, and Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project.

Along with her time as Yelena Belova in the MCU, Florence Pugh has scored attention in recent years for her performances in movies like Midsommar and Little Women, and she’s next set to appear in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling. Rami Malek was most recently seen playing Lyutsifer Safin, No Time to Die’s main antagonist, and he’s attached to the ensemble cast for David O. Russell’s next movie, which hasn’t been titled yet. As for Benny Safdie, although he’s chiefly known as a filmmaker alongside his brother Joshua, his acting credits besides Licorice Pizza include Good Time (which he also co-directed), Pieces of a Woman and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

In addition to directing Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan wrote the biopic’s script, which is based off the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Unlike the majority of Nolan’s movies, Warner Bros. will not be involved in Oppenheimer’s release. Instead, Universal Pictures is financing and distributing it, and here’s how the studio is reportedly describing the biopic:

[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.

Oppenheimer is expected to begin filming in early 2022 and is slated to drop in theaters on July 21, 2023. While we wait for more casting news and other updates on its progress, learn what movies will come out next year with our 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.