Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was a first for him on many levels because apart from being his first biopic, it was also the first film where he has filmed nudity and sex scenes which made him nervous and cautious.
The director has called sexuality a necessary aspect of the movie given the scientist’s life. As reported by People, while speaking to the Insider “Any time you’re challenging yourself to work in areas you haven’t worked in before, you should be appropriately nervous and appropriately careful and planned and prepared” said the director when asked about filming his first sex scenes.
The scene revolves around J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) having an intimate romance scene with fellow physician Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh) before his marriage to Katherine Kitty Oppenheimer.
The Father of the Atomic Bomb continued his romance with Tatlock even after his marriage, though this had a serious impact on his life as Tatlock was a Communist. This led to Oppenheimer getting his security clearance revoked following a 1954 security hearing in which he was accused of having Communist ties.
Nolan said he wanted to include sex scenes between the characters to show that their romance transcended politics.
“When you look at Oppenheimer’s life and you look at his story, that aspect of his life, the aspect of his sexuality, his way with women, the charm that he exuded, it’s an essential part of his story.”
He further added, “It felt very important to understand their relationship and to really see inside it and understand what made it tick without being coy or allusive about it — but to try to be intimate, to try and be in there with him and fully understand the relationship that was so important to him.”
While Oppenheimer primarily focuses on the Manhattan Project during World War II which led to the bomb, and America’s subsequent interest in nuclear program policy in the years post the war, it also dives into the physicist's personal and romantic relationships.
The scientist may be renowned as one of the most important and brilliant minds to ever walk the Earth, but he was also a womaniser and had multiple romantic engagements in his life, before and after his marriage.
Oppenheimer was released on July 21 and has already received highly positive reviews with many calling it a masterpiece.