While Hollywood braces for an actors strike, the key cast of Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” — Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon — walked the red carpet at the Paris world premiere on Tuesday, but didn’t talk politics.
Nolan, receiving rapturous applause as he walked into the theater, spoke onstage about his special bond with France and the 90-year old Grand Rex Theater, dating back to his 2000 film “Memento.”
“When we made our first film ‘Memento,’ no one in the world would show this film,” Nolan said, until the Grand Rex Theater booked it. “Looking at the size of it I have no idea why, but people came and our lives changed and we love this theater,” added Nolan, who was surrounded by his cast and producers, including his wife Emma Thomas.
As the three-hour historical epic was about to begin, Nolan warned the audience that “it’s an intense experience, it’s a serious subject, but it’s something we pulled our hearts into.” The movie delves into the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II.
Downey Jr., who made a showy entrance on the red carpet, looking as sleek and stylish as Tony Stark, said “Oppenheimer” stands out from the other movies he starred in.
“I’ve done a lot of movies where it kind of becomes about aliens and bad guys and action and flying around. But this is a blockbuster about our history as human beings. And it’s just amazing how he pulled it off,” said Downey Jr. who owes his huge popularity in France to his turn in “Iron Man” and “The Avengers.” He said “Oppenheimer” is a “blockbuster movie that is about something so intimate and so important.”
Speaking of having the movie world premiere in France, Downey Jr. said it was “an appropriate place” because the “French really love and have contributed to so much to great cinema.”
The atmosphere was solemn if not tense at the premiere event, possibly due to the looming actors strike. The unbearable heat didn’t help either. Murphy, who plays the title role as the American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, kept a low profile on the red carpet. Blunt, who looked stunning in a silk gown, said it was an “extraordinary set, fully immersive, which is what Chris adores to do, so you feel kidnapped by the experience as an actor.”
Blunt, who plays Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine Oppenheimer, said “no details were spared and it was just transporting for all of us to be a part of it.” The British actor said she and Murphy, who starred together in “A Quiet Place Part II,” “had already bonded and we were pals,” and that the actors developed a “secret language.” Blunt added of Murphy, “I adore working with him. I would do anything with him. He’s the greatest.”
Damon, who spent nearly 40 minutes with fans signing autographs and posing for selfies, said he was in Paris with his three daughters and looked forward to seeing “how the audience responds to this very special movie.”
Guests inside the Rex Theater were treated with champagne cups, but the concession stands were closed for the occasion, meaning no food was available on site.
Universal is releasing the $100 million-budgeted “Oppenheimer” in theaters on July 21.
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