Matt Damon can thank his lucky stars that Christopher Nolan cast him in “Oppenheimer.”
The “Interstellar” actor was considering a break prior to writer-director Nolan reaching out about a role in “Oppenheimer,” premiering in theaters July 21.
“This is going to sound made up, but it’s actually true,” Damon told Entertainment Weekly. “I had — not to get too personal — negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off.”
The “Air” star continued, “I had been in ‘Interstellar,’ and then Chris put me on ice for a couple of movies, so I wasn’t in the rotation, but I actually negotiated in couples therapy — this is a true story — the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called. This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything, because he never tells you. He just calls you out of the blue. And so, it was a moment in my household.”
Damon recently founded Artists Equity production company with longtime collaborator Ben Affleck, and previously starred in Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel.”
“Oppenheimer” director Nolan told EW that he loves calling actors directly to cast them as a surprise. “[It’s] a fun way to do it,” Nolan said to lead “Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy in the EW video. “But it means that it’s very difficult to call you to go out to dinner or something. Because every time you answer the phone it’s like, ‘What’s it going to be’?”
First reactions to the film praise the ensemble cast for the “haunted” tone of the epic centered on the creation of the atomic bomb. “Oppenheimer” actress Emily Blunt, whose performance is already being heralded as a standout turn, revealed that she too has contemplated a break from acting.
“It’s one of those things when people are like, ‘How do you balance it?’ I never feel like I’m doing it right, you know,’” Blunt said on the “Table For Two” podcast. “But this year I’m not working. I worked quite a bit last year and my oldest baby is nine, so we’re in the last year of single digits. And I just feel there are cornerstones to their day that are so important when they’re little.”
She added, “And it’s, ‘Will you wake me up? Will you take me to school? Will you pick me up? Will you put me to bed?’ And I just need to be there for all of them for a good stretch. And I just felt that in my bones.”
Blunt admitted that she felt “guilt” working on “intense” films like “Oppenheimer.”
“The ones that are time-consuming I think, for me, are becoming few and further,” Blunt, who lives next door to co-star Damon, said, “between because of just the emotional cost on me, on the kids, on balance.”