NEW YORK -- Robert Oppenheimer was known as "the father of the atomic bomb" and he became a household name after WWII.
The issues raised by the start of the nuclear age remain highly relevant now, and the ethics of developing such a weapon are still debated today.
The dawn of the nuclear age and birth of the first atomic bomb might seem like an unlikely story to tell in a summer blockbuster - and at a cost of $100 million, "Oppenheimer" represents a big bet by director Christopher Nolan.
"He really, really believes in his audiences, he really believes his audiences are smart, he really believes that his audiences can take this, and from the response that we're getting so far, the audiences are loving it," said star Cillian Murphy.
Murphy plays the title character while Emily Blunt has a supporting role as Oppenheimer's wife and Matt Damon plays the general in charge of the Manhattan Project that built the bombs.
"We were there to support that performance, and it is I think one of the great performances that I've seen on screen," Daman said.
Great is also the word that best describes Robert Downey Jr.'s work playing Oppenheimer's jealous rival.
"I've always admired Robert Downey Jr. as an actor," Nolan said. "His work as one of our most charismatic movie stars one the last 20 years is undeniable, but the actor beneath that; I haven't seen him do that in a while. I hadn't seen him take on the truth of a character."
Telling the truth is important enough to Nolan that he avoids computer-generated special effects in favor of real explosions.
The result is stunning on a very big screen, especially given the large IMAX format.
"Getting people excited about you know what movies are in the cineplex again is a great thing," Daman said.
"I think being part of a film like this is a reminder to me as an actor of how important that is to just give people the most immersive experience possible, and I think this film really offers you that," Blunt said.
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