Florence Pugh, an Oppenheimer co-star, and their explicit sex scenes were complimented by Cillian Murphy.
In a recent interview conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike, Murphy, 47, stated to the Sydney Morning Herald that "those scenes were written intentionally." "He was aware that those scenes were what gave the film its favorable review. And I believe that it is quite potent when you see it. They are also not unnecessary. They are flawless. Florence is also simply stunning.
Murphy praised about the screen presence of his 27-year-old co-star. The native of Ireland continued, "I have liked Florence's work since Lady Macbeth and I believe she's f-king great. She exudes this incredible presence both in real life and on television. Given the extent of the role, she plays in Oppenheimer, her influence is truly terrible.
There are several sexual sequences in Pugh's brief but memorable Oppenheimer role, which director Christopher Nolan first used sex in. In the scenes, Jean Tatlock (Pugh), the mistress of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy), interrupts their coitus to inquire about the scientist's library. She gives him a book, the Bhagavad-Gita, a sacred Hindu classic, to read aloud to her. They resume their intense infatuation as he utters the famous phrase, "I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."
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The inclusion of the quotation—which the real Oppenheimer is credited as saying occurred to him after testing the atomic bomb—during a sex scene sparked debate in India. According to Uday Mahurkar, a journalist and the founder of the Save Culture Save India Foundation, the sequence is a "direct assault on the religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus," and Hollywood is more sensitive to images of Islam and other religions. Mahurkar wrote this in an open letter to Nolan. (Moviegoers weren't deterred by the issue; Oppenheimer won the box office in India's opening weekend, even beating Barbie.)
Cillian Murphy, who plays Oppenheimer, defends the "powerful" and "perfect" sex scenes he had with Florence Pugh.
Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy. Images from INSTAR and PA
Tatlock and Oppenheimer's sex scene in the courtroom as he recalls his affair is less contentious but more bizarre. As he recalls the memories while being questioned by authorities for potential Communist affiliations, his wife Kitty Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt) is watching. The peculiar setting is meant to convey how uneasy the title character felt disclosing every private aspect of his life to the public.
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Showing Oppenheimer's sexual life, according to Nolan, 52, felt crucial to the plot. "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, and the charm that he exuded, it's an essential part of his story," Nolan said earlier this month to Insider.
He continued by saying that it was crucial to demonstrate how Oppenheimer and Tatlock's friendship transcended politics.
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Without being evasive or allusive about it, Nolan said, "It felt very important to understand their relationship and to really see inside it and understand what made it tick. 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."