Share This Episode
Brian Kilmeade Show Brian Kilmeade Logo

UNEDITED: Brian's interview with OPPENHEIMER director Christopher Nolan

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2023 12:00 am

UNEDITED: Brian's interview with OPPENHEIMER director Christopher Nolan

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 932 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

July 22, 2023 12:00 am

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Hey, welcome back.

In the middle of the week, it was so tough to do. I had so much going on, but I had an opportunity to interview Christopher Nolan, you know, the legendary producer and director of Batman, the trilogy and all that stuff, Dark Knight, whatever they call it. And everyone just says, you listen to actors talk, they say he's the best of the best.

And with all the actors on strike, he's doing all his own publicity for Oppenheimer. And I've watched some of the interviews, I see how passionate he is. And they said, Brian, you have an opportunity to do the interview. But you have to see the movie. And I said, do me a favor, just send me the clip, you know, said I'll watch it on my iPad. And they said, absolutely not. They said you need to see an IMAX theater. They've rented one 53rd Street. You got to go.

You want me to sit down from 1230 to 330 in the middle of the day and watch a movie? Well, I'm so glad I did. It is Oppenheimer.

It is fantastic. And bringing us inside the process. And the man. And why he did the movie. Here he is, Christopher Nolan. You are an American Prometheus, the man who gave them the power to destroy themselves.

And they'll respect that. The story of Robert Oppenheimer is simply the most dramatic story I've ever encountered. I mean, whether you're looking at fictional historical fact, it's a story with incredible stakes, incredible suspense. You know, this is a person who changed the world forever. We live in his world like it or not.

And we always will. When did you realize that how did you come on the biography, the story that made you want to know more to research to the point where you could write a script like this? Well, I think for me, the real hook was an incident that I actually referred to in my previous film, Tenet in Dialogue, which was the fact that Oppenheimer and his fellow lead scientists on the Manhattan Project in the lead up to the first test detonation of an atomic device, which they call Trinity. They couldn't completely eliminate the possibility that when they triggered that device, they might survive the atmosphere and destroy the entire world.

That's just the most dramatic situation I've ever heard of. So I was interested in exploring Oppenheimer as a potential film project. And then I read American Prometheus, a great book by Kai Bird and Martin Sherman. Twenty five years to write the book. Twenty five years to write the book.

And so I'm standing on the shoulders of those those giants. Twenty five years of research, incredible detail. It's a beautifully laid out book that gave me the confidence to take on such a complicated project. You know, I felt like I had that that basis of knowledge to work from. And Christopher, the way you line it up, you got the World War, you have nuclear energy, you also have communism, Nazism all turned into one. And it all really happened. I mean, the the drama that was taking place and what was happening here was really crazy because there was a sense that if the if the Nazis got it and beat us to the bomb, the world would forever be changed. And you got to figure that Hitler was going to use it. So not only did you have to invent something, you had to win the race to invent something that didn't exist.

Yeah, it was a crazy race. Once the atom was split, a lot of the scientists, a lot of the great physicists around the world pretty quickly figured out the potential for some kind of doomsday device, some kind of bomb based on on that fact of nature. And so there was a race that started and Oppenheimer was recruited by General Groves to lead the laboratory in Los Alamos. And one of the things that I found most dramatic about this is that Oppenheimer knew all the German scientists. He knew that the chess player on the other side of the board, Heisenberg, in his early years, in the 1920s, he'd gone to Europe and he'd studied and collaborated with a lot of these scientists. So he's sitting on one side with his team, putting his team together, knowing what they're doing on the other side. And the stakes were very, very high for the whole world.

Can you say the casting, Killian Murphy? Unbelievable. Just I think he's going to blow people away with this.

How you guys don't walk away with every award possible is unbelievable. But you mentioned chain reaction and that when asked a couple of times, Oppenheimer asked, are you going to blow up the world? They couldn't be sure they wouldn't.

Here's here's a look. Neutrons smash into nucleus, releasing neutrons to smash into other nuclei, criticality, point of no return, massive explosive force. But this time the chain reaction doesn't stop. It would ignite the atmosphere.

When we detonate an atomic device, we might start a chain reaction that destroys the world. It's talking to Einstein there. Yeah. Think about that conversation.

Amazing. I mean, in the later years, after the war, Oppenheimer wound up running the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. And Einstein had been there for years and was there.

And so they would meet and talk. And you're looking at two generations of the leading scientists of their day. And that's Einstein, played by Tom Conte, who I've worked with before, is a wonderful British actor. And Killian and Tom, they really brought an incredible sense of intimacy to those those scenes.

Really, really love those parts of the movie. So I think the story is really about a guy to Oppenheimer. You think he invents the bomb, he's a hero for a brief period of time.

But you make it pretty clear that this is a mixed blessing. He might have ended the war and the good guys won. But he's saying to himself, we've got to stop the hydrogen bomb. And his interaction with Truman does not go well. Truman feels a big victory that Oppenheimer should get some credit for.

He's like, no, I don't think we should really do this. I think we should look into the future and understand where we're heading. How was he able to see the future? How did you make sure how did why did you want so much to make sure people understood? Not only was he brilliant, he also could foresee how complicated the world we're in right now is getting.

Well, it's one of the things that really drew me to the story is this is not a story about naivete. This is not a story about scientists who had no idea what was going to happen with their work. They made the atomic bomb because if they didn't, the Nazis would. They had no choice.

They had to do what we needed for the allies to win the war. But they must have known as very, very brilliant scientists where this could all go. And Oppenheimer, more than anyone else, as things developed after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he's somebody with incredible vision and foresight. So he's looking to the future. He's looking to where the arms race against the Russians is going to go during the Cold War. And he's trying to do his best to have a voice in policy. But of course, this is the first time the scientists were ever asked by the military to try and win a war.

That had never happened before. So suddenly, science finds itself in the position of, OK, we've created this thing. What say do we have and how it's used?

Do we have a say in how it's used? Or is that the politicians? And so Oppenheimer wound up in this in the post-war years. He wound up in this really complicated situation between science, government and the media. And he did what he could to try and influence policy as best he could until the point at which things turn against him.

And it got really ugly. And in the end, do you think when he passed away, we don't have his death in the movie, when he passed away, is he looked at as a hero because he did get his security clearance taken away? People associate him with communism.

His wife admitted she was a communist. Do you think that when he passed away, he was viewed as a hero in America? I think that his reputation has has changed over time. He was rehabilitated to some degree, you know, by Lyndon Johnson, giving him the Fermi medal.

And then over years, it's taken a very long time, but just this year, the Department of Energy revoked the finding against him in the security hearing. It took that long for the U.S. government to acknowledge that this great wrong had been done to him. So I think his reputation will always be an ambiguous one. He was an incredible hero for his country, a great patriot.

One of his great quotes is, you know, damn it, I happen to love this country. That's a big part of who he was. But he also had this past that became inconvenient to where the world went once fascism had been defeated and communism became the big threat. And so I think he'll always have this this very ambiguous position in history. And I think his story, it's a cautionary tale. It raises all kinds of troubling questions. And the film doesn't tend to have any kind of easy answers. It's really, it's just incredibly dramatic to live through this guy's experience, you know, sit in his shoes, view things through his eyes for a few hours. And talk about drama, real life, down where we're in a battle, we end up in a cold war with the Soviet Union and a race to make sure we keep the bomb. Here's the moment in the movie when they realize the Russians might have it.

Listen. One of our B-29s over the North Pacific has detected radiation. Here we have the filter paper. There's no doubt what this is. White House officers are down.

Wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Are those the long range detection filter papers? It's an atomic test. The Russians have a bomb.

Russians have a bomb and they had people inside Los Alamos in the Manhattan Project? No spoilers, please. Strange you talk about spoilers when you talk about historical drama. But the way in which we tell the story, there are surprises along those lines, a lot of accusations flying all different ways and some incredible revelations. And that there is Robert Downey Jr. playing Louis Strauss, who had a very complicated relationship with Oppenheimer.

And Downey, working with Downey, who's one of the great movie stars of today, but also one of the most incredible actors, losing himself in that part. And the relationship between the two men develops, I think, in some really extraordinary ways, particularly post-1945, as the threat of communism, the Russians and everything, supplants that fascism. The world changes again, the whole game changes, and Oppenheimer and Strauss are kind of caught in the middle of it. You're out here doing it and I'm thrilled, but normally you'd have Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. doing a lot of publicity, and you're the man pushing it, you wrote it, you produced it, and you're attached to it, I'm so glad you're here. How do you feel about this strike? I know Barry Diller came out over the weekend and just said, if it goes too long, it is really going to be a detrimental long-term to the business. Because if you go out with Christmas and there's no movies, and you can't shoot by September, you're in trouble.

When does Christopher Nolan get worried? I'm worried right now on behalf of all the families of guild members who are out on strike. Nobody's working when both the writers, my guild and SAG, are out on strike. The sooner this is resolved, the better, but it's an absolutely necessary industrial action. The truth is the companies we work for have arbitrarily changed the way in which they sell the products, the deals will change in the last five years, and the way in which working actors are compensated hasn't kept up with that.

They haven't changed those deals yet, and they have to do that. This is the kind of moment that comes along every few decades in Hollywood, and it needs to be taken care of. It's not about movie stars like Matt Killian or directors like myself, writers like myself. It's about working staff writers. It's about jobbing actors who need to pay their mortgages and keep food on the table. It has to be dealt with, and yeah, the quicker it's dealt with, the better, but that obviously comes from both sides.

Right. In the meantime, you do have something to see in the theaters. Oppenheimer in the theaters today, this weekend, and this is a huge hit. I can't imagine what it would be like writing it, let alone producing it, and how gratified you must feel right now, or are you nervous? Very nervous.

Never gets any easier. I mean, the film's not finished until it's out there for the audience to tell us what it is we've done, and that's happening tomorrow. How much do the awards mean to you?

Not much. I mean, we make the films for audiences, and it's great to have a film like this come out in the summer, which is when people are really primed to go see things on the big screen and hopefully have an exciting experience, and that's what we do it for. It's 118 degrees outside, so go inside.

The air conditioning's in the theater. Thanks so much. Thank you. I appreciate it.

How great was that? I mean, when you see the movie, I think you'll appreciate it more. You're going to want to go see a documentary on Fox Nation. There is a documentary on Robert Oppenheimer, and it was a great primer for me before I saw the movie. You might want to do the same thing.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-22 02:15:27 / 2023-07-22 02:21:24 / 6

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime