Christopher Nolan Calls Stars’ Walkout During ‘Oppenheimer’ Premiere a ‘Bittersweet Moment’ (Video)

“We had the opportunity to somewhat celebrate the film, and the actors were all there to support,” he says

christopher nolan oppenheimer
Christopher Nolan on "Today" (Credit: NBC)

“Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan called the walkout of the stars of his film during last Thursday’s premiere in London a “bittersweet moment,” saying he hoped the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes are resolved quickly.

Nolan addressed the moment, during which stars including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Florence Pugh walked out in solidarity with the actors’ strike, which the union had indicated was going to happen during the premiere. 

“It was a bittersweet moment,” Nolan said Tuesday in a sit-down interview with “Today.” “We were all there. We were very fortunate. We had the opportunity to somewhat celebrate the film. And the actors were all there to support — but then when the time came had to [put] down tools and go off in support of all of their fellow actors and then support the writers, as well.”

SAG-AFTRA formally announced its first film and television strike since 1980 at a press conference at its Los Angeles headquarters later Thursday.

“It’s an important moment in the industry,” Nolan said. “The business models have been rewritten by the companies we work for, and it’s time to rewrite the deals. Hopefully, with everybody unified, that can happen quickly as possible.”

“I have to to acknowledge the work of our incredible cast, led by Cillian Murphy,” Nolan said during Thursday’s premiere as he introduced the film to the audience. “The list is enormous — Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh, Rami Malek and so many more… You’ve seen them here earlier on the red carpet. Unfortunately, they are off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike by SAG, joining one of my guilds, the Writers Guild, in the struggle for fair wages for working members of their union.”

Watch video of the whole “Today” interview with Nolan below.

“Oppenheimer” hits theaters Friday.

Umberto Gonzalez contributed to this report.