First Look Reveals Cillian Murphy’s J. Robert Oppenheimer as Christopher Nolan Film Begins Production (Photo)

Alden Ehrenreich and David Krumholtz have also joined the cast of the “epic thriller”

Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer" (Universal Pictures)

Universal Pictures has released the first look at actor Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s new film, “Oppenheimer.” Production on the “epic thriller” is underway, Universal and Syncopy announced in addition to unveiling Murphy’s transformation as the historical figure.

Written and directed by Nolan, “Oppenheimer” is described as 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.

The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven and Nolan.

“Oppenheimer” will film in multiple U.S. locations, including New Mexico, California and New Jersey.

The film stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Emily Blunt as his wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. Oscar-winner Matt Damon portrays General Leslie Groves Jr., director of the Manhattan Project, and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

Academy Award-nominee Florence Pugh plays psychiatrist Jean Tatlock, Benny Safdie plays theoretical physicist Edward Teller, Michael Angarano plays Robert Serber and Josh Hartnett plays pioneering American nuclear scientist Ernest Lawrence.

Oppenheimer also stars Oscar-winner Rami Malek and reunites Nolan with eight-time Oscar-nominated actor, writer and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh.

The cast includes Dane DeHaan (“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”), Dylan Arnold (“Halloween” franchise), David Krumholtz (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”), Alden Ehrenreich (“Solo: A Star Wars Story”) and Matthew Modine (“The Dark Knight Rises”).

Universal Pictures will distribute Oppenheimer theatrically worldwide and will release the film in North American theaters on Friday, July 21, 2023. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin.

“Oppenheimer” will be shot on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film photography including, for the first time ever, sections in IMAX black and white analogue photography.

The film marks Nolan’s first effort for Universal Pictures, after the filmmaker became dismayed over Warner Bros.’ decision to release films day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max in 2021. Warner Bros. had been involved in all of Nolan’s films since 2002’s “Insomnia,” but after the release of “Tenet” in 2020 Nolan shopped his next project elsewhere, which is how it landed at Universal.

Oppenheimer was a theoretical physicist and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. During wartime he was the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and was known as the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the “Manhattan Project,” which first developed nuclear weapons for World War II. He also supervised the Trinity Test, in which the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated in New Mexico.

“Oppenheimer” is Nolan’s 12th feature following 2020’s “Tenet.”