Matt Damon revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Christopher Nolan ended up in one of the actor’s couples therapy sessions. While avoiding marital details, Damon said he told his wife he would take a break from acting on one condition: If Christopher Nolan called, the break could be put on hold. His wife agreed to the terms.
As fate would have it, Nolan called with an offer for Damon to star in “Oppenheimer.”
“It’s going to sound made up, but it’s actually true,” Damon said. “I had to – not to get too personal – negotiated at length with my wife for me to take time off. I had been on ‘Interstellar’ and then Chris put me on ice for a few movies, so I wasn’t in the rotation, but I actually negotiated in couples therapy – that’s a true story – the only caveat to my time off was if Chris Nolan called. It’s without knowing if he was working on anything or not, because he never tells you. He just calls you out of the blue. And so, it was a moment in my house.
Nolan called Damon to offer him the role of Leslie Groves, who was the director of the Manhattan Project. Groves chose Los Alamos, NM as one of several test sites for the development of the atomic bomb. He also personally recruited J. Robert Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy) to lead the charge at Los Alamos – a controversial choice at the time because Oppenheimer had no Nobel Prize or administrative leadership experience.
Murphy received his own unexpected call from Nolan with an offer to play the lead role.
“He’s so low-key and self-deprecating and, in his very English way, he just said, ‘Listen, I wrote this script, it’s about Oppenheimer. I wish you were my Oppenheimer,” Murphy told The Associated Press earlier this year. “It was a great day… We have this understanding, this confidence, this shorthand and this long-standing respect. It was the right time to take on greater responsibility. And it turns out it was huge.
“[It’s] a fun way to do it,” said Nolan Weekly entertainment on surprise offers over the phone. “But that means it’s very difficult to call you out to dinner or something.” ‘Cause every time you answer the phone, it’s like, what’s it gonna be? »
“Oppenheimer” opens in theaters nationwide July 21 through Universal Pictures.
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