When director Christopher Nolan’s feature film Oppenheimer premieres on July 21, New Mexico’s Los Alamos will be playing a starring role. Tucked away at an elevation of 7,320 feet among the snowcapped peaks, canyons and mesas of northern New Mexico, the town is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory—a renowned scientific institution employing some of the world’s top scientists and researchers, and one that also played a major part in the development of the atomic bomb. In fact, J. Robert Oppenheimer, also known as the “father of the atomic bomb” and the man at the center of Nolan’s biopic, served as the lab’s director during World War II.
Los Alamos visitors can learn about the creation of the world’s first atomic weapons at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which encompasses the three secret communities that supported the production of the bomb: Los Alamos; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Richland, Washington. While the Los Alamos Visitor Center is open Friday through Mondays year-round, guided tours of the park’s historic properties (most of which are located on secure U.S. government land) are offered only three-times annually in spring, summer and fall.
Entertainment Weekly Highlights “Oppenheimer” in May 9, 2023 Interview
[Cillian] MURPHY: Every day, you had these phenomenal actors, who are heroes of mine, coming in. Every day, you were having to raise your game to work with these legends. Everybody was so unbelievably well-prepared. Every single actor, no matter what size their role or the significance of their character in history, each one of them had this massive depth of knowledge that they could draw on.
[Christopher] NOLAN: I was thinking that it even applied to the extras. We were in the real Los Alamos and we had a lot of real scientists as extras. We needed the crowd of extras to give reactions, and improvise, and we were getting sort of impromptu, very educated speeches. It was really fun to listen to. You’ve been on sets where you’ve got a lot of extras around and they’re more or less thinking about lunch. These guys were thinking about the geopolitical implications of nuclear arms and knew a lot about it. It actually was a great reminder every day of: We have to be really on our game, we have to be faithful to the history here, and really know what we’re up to.
Read the full interview at Entertainment Weekly online.