‘Oppenheimer’ Cast and Character Guide: Who’s Who in Christopher Nolan’s Historical Epic

Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Tenet) is one of the most beloved filmmakers working today, meaning whenever he’s set to release a film, we have to talk about it. His latest venture takes us to 1939 and is a biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the inventor of the atomic bomb. The film is based on the book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Oppenheimer features one of the most impressive casts in recent memory. Here’s everything you need to know about the cast of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Related: What Happened to Oppenheimer in Real Life?

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Image via Universal Pictures

Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders, A Quiet Place Part II) leads the film as the titular character, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Known as the father of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer was a central player in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Cillian Murphy has been a mainstay in almost all of Nolan’s films, most notably as Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow in The Dark Knight trilogy.

Emily Blunt as Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer

Image via Universal Pictures

Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) will play Katherine Oppenheimer, the wife of Cillian Murphy’s character. While we don’t know how big Blunt’s role will be in the upcoming film, we expect it to be a significant role considering her connection to Robert Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer will be her first time working with Christopher Nolan, but the collaboration is a perfect match. Her acting range is incredible, and Nolan always gets the best performances from his actors. If you want to see Blunt shine, look no further than A Quiet Place Part II, Sicario, and My Summer of Love.

Matt Damon as Leslie Groves

Matt Damon as Lt. Gen Leslie Groves in Oppenheimer
Image via Universal Pictures

Matt Damon was previously in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Oppenheimer is the first time the two reunited since the 2014 epic. Damon will be playing Lt. Leslie Groves, who directed the Manhatten Project. Damon is an incredibly talented actor. He’s best known for his role in Good Will Hunting, The Martian, and the Jason Bourne franchise.

Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss

Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss in 'Oppenheimer'
Image via Universal Pictures

Robert Downey Jr. has done it all. He’s been on the small screen with shows like Ally McBeal, done dramas like Zodiac, and was the face of the biggest franchise in the world as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even after all of his success, Downey jumped at the chance to star in Oppenheimer. The actor will play Lewis Strauss, a businessman, philanthropist, and naval officer who served two terms on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. As Downey moves on to his post-Iron Man career, we can’t wait to see what he delivers in a film like Oppenheimer.

Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock

Oppenheimer Florence Pugh
Image via Universal Pictures

Florence Pugh is one of the rising stars in Hollywood. She was a co-lead in Marvel’s Black Widow and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, and she led the instant classic, Midsommar. If you’re looking forward to another one of Pugh’s films, she will play a key role in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two. In the film, Pugh will play Jean Tatlock, a psychiatrist and romantic interest for Robert Oppenheimer. At only 26 years old, Pugh has already established herself as a household name, and Oppenheimer will only add to her extensive resume.

Benny Safdie as Edward Teller

Benny Safdie is building quite the resume. Safdie is Edward Teller, a theoretical physicist who worked with Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project and is known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb.” The actor appeared in critically acclaimed films Good Time, Pieces of a Woman, and Licorice Pizza.

Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence

Image via Showtime

Josh Harnett was initially offered the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman) for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, a part famously played by Christian Bale. Hartnett turned down the offer, but the two finally collaborated over a decade later. Hartnett plays Ernest Lawrence, a Nobel Prize winner and cyclotron inventor. Hartnett is best known for his roles in Pearl Harbor, Wrath of Man, and Black Hawk Down.

Matthew Modine as Vannevar Bush

Image via Netflix

Matthew Modine (Stranger Things) will play Vannevar Bush, an engineer and inventor for the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development. Modine first worked with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises, and fans know him best as Dr. Martin Brenner on the Netflix mega-hit series Stranger Things. If you’re looking for more of Modine’s work, check out Full Metal Jacket and Pacific Heights.

Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer

Image via Universal Pictures

Frank Oppenheimer is the younger brother of Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). Dylan Arnold will bring the physics professor to life in the upcoming film. Arnold’s previous work includes Halloween Kills, Mudbound, and Disfluency. He also has recurring roles in the television series, The Purge, and Nashville.

Michael Angarano as Robert Serber

Michael Angarano in PEN15
Image via Hulu

Michael Angarano (Sky High) will play Robert Serber in the film, one of the many members of the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer is one of the biggest films of Angarano’s career, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some impressive shows on his resume. He starred in Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here and had a recurring role on This Is Us.

Danny Deferrari as Enrico Fermi

Danny Deferrari in 'Shiva Baby'
Image via Utopia

Know as the architect of the nuclear age, Enrico Fermi will be played by none other than Danny Deferrari. Fermi created the world’s first nuclear reactor and was an essential member of the Manhattan Project. Deferrari is best known for his television work, appearing in Blue Bloods, Chicago Med, and Madoff. The actor was also in the film Shiva Baby.

Emma Dumont as Jackie Oppenheimer

emma dumont

Emma Dumont is set to play Jackie Oppenheimer, the wife of Jack (Dylan Arnold) and sister-in-law of Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). Viewers might know Dumont best from her best from Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Licorice Pizza and the X-Men series, The Gifted.

Josh Peck as Kenneth Bainbridge

Image via Disney+

Best known for being half of the Nickelodeon duo (Drake & Josh), Josh Peck is a great actor, and Oppenheimer is a film where more people will see just how great he can be. The actor will be playing Kenneth Bainbridge, the director of the Trinity nuclear test. Peck has mainly done work in television, so check out these shows: Drake & Josh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), and iCarly (2021-).

Alden Ehrenreich as Richard Feynman

Image via Disney

In Oppenheimer, Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story) is Richard Feynman, a theoretical physicist, and his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. We don’t know how significant the role will be, but Ehrenreich makes every film he’s in significantly better. Some of his best work includes Blue Jasmine, Tetero, and Hail, Caesar!

Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe

Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgard) standing in the desert in HBO's, Westworld (2018)
Image via HBO

Hans Bethe was a scientist who helped develop atomic weapons. Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings) will play Bethe in Oppenheimer. The actor is best known for the role of Floki in the series Vikings. He was also a recurring character in the HBO series Westworld.

Devon Bostick as Seth Neddermeyer

Devon Bostick in Dead Before Dawn 3D
Image via Gaiam Vivendi

Devon Bostick’s time as Rodrick Heffley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid trilogy might be his most recognizable role, but now the actor is taking things to an entirely different level with his role in Oppenheimer. Bostick will play Seth Neddermeyer, a physicist who co-discovered the muon and pushed for the implosion-type of a nuclear weapon.

Related:’Oppenheimer’s Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Christopher Nolan’s “Convenient Casting” and Filming in IMAX 70mm

Rami Malek

Rami Malek in No Time to Die
Image via United Artists Releasing

The Academy Award winner, Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody, No Time To Die), adds to the just to the massively talented cast. The actor is best known for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, a role that won him his first Oscar. Rami Malek delivers terrific performances in every film he’s a part of, and we expect nothing less in Oppenheimer. For more of his work, check out Mr. Robot, Bohemian Rhapsody, and No Time To Die.

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour
Image via Focus Features

While we may not know what role Gary Oldman will play in Oppenheimer, we do know that he is at least making an appearance in the film. The actor famously played James Gordon in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, so his appearance doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, Oldman has delivered incredible performances over the years, notably in The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Mank, and Darkest Hour.

Jack Quaid

Jack Quaid Scream
Image via Paramount

Jack Quaid has managed to make a name for himself, and that’s a challenge when you can easily only be known as the child of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. Nevertheless, Jack Quaid has managed to carve out his path and is a fantastic actor. He is one of the main characters on Prime Video’s hit series, The Boys, and he also starred in The Hunger Games, Scream (2022), and Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Kenneth Branagh

Image via 20th Century Studios

Kenneth Branagh was featured in Nolan’s latest film, Tenet. The actor/director also starred in Dunkirk, another period piece by Christopher Nolan. Kenneth Branagh’s role in Oppenheimer is unknown. Some of his best films are Macbeth, Dunkirk, and Tenet.

Dane DeHaan

Lockhart on crutches looking scared in wellness center hallway.

Having Dane DeHaan work with Christopher Nolan just makes sense. The actor has delivered outstanding performances, but none have quite been on the scale of a Nolan film. Seeing DeHaan in a movie of this magnitude will be a terrific watch. For more of Dane DeHaan’s work, check out Chronicle, Two Lovers and A Bear, and The Place Beyond the Pines.

Casey Affleck

Robert Ford pointing a gun at someone off-camera in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Image via Warner Bros.

Casey Affleck is reuniting with his Good Will Hunting co-star, Matt Damon. The two both appeared in Nolan’s sci-fi epic, Interstellar, and we can’t wait to see what Affleck brings in Oppenheimer. Some of Casey Affleck’s best films are Manchester by the Sea, Gone Girl, and The Old Man & the Gun.

The Extended Cast of Oppenheimer

While we focused on the major cast members and confirmed roles in Oppenheimer, there are still over a dozen actors slated to appear in the film. We don’t know their roles, but we can’t wait to see their work in the movie. Here are the rest of the actors appearing in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Olli Haaskivi (Get Happy!), James D’Arcy (Agent Carter, Avengers: Endgame), David Krumholtz (The Deuce), David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Dune Part One), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Louise Lombard (The House of Eliott), Scott Grimes (American Dad, The Orville), Christopher Denham (Billions, Argo), David Rysdahl (No Exit), Guy Burnet (Counterpart), Harrison Gilbertson (Freedom’s Path, Need for Speed), Matthias Schweighöfer (Army of the Dead), Alex Wolff (Hereditary, Old), Tony Goldwyn (King Richard), Trond Fausa Aurvåg (The Bothersome Man), Josh Zuckerman (Austin Powers in Goldmember), and Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Dredd).

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