Oppenheimer: Cillian Murphy's Favorite Part To Film Took Two Weeks In A Tiny Room

"Oppenheimer" continues to thrill audience members around the world. 

Christopher Nolan's biopic on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, goes deep into the physicist's psyche, presenting viewers with an intimate view of the man who changed the world. "Oppenheimer" is a true epic, spanning several years, showing the American scientist during his early days in academia, to the successful atomic bomb test, and the fallout of his invention which manifests shortly after. It's a lot to digest, especially for cinemagoers, as the three-hour runtime forces viewers to examine Oppenheimer from all different angles.

As daunting as the film is for viewers, who have to brace Nolan's longest film to date, can only imagine how difficult of an experience it was for the actors involved. Note that "Oppenheimer," which spans several decades, was shot in less than two months. "We made the movie unbelievably quickly. We made it in 57 days," Cillian Murphy, the actor in the titular role told Marc Maron on his "WTF" podcast. "The pace of that was insane." With such a swift production, one can imagine the shoot to be a blur. After all, the production was hopping from location to location, filming in states like New Mexico and California to complete the film. 

For Murphy, however, he distinctively remembers what his favorite part of the production was. "But the section of the movie that I loved working on the most was the section in the room, in 2022, when we were all in the hearing," the Irish actor told Collider. "We shot in this tiny, [expletive] little room." Murphy is, of course, talking about the scenes which make up a bulk of the film's exposition: the Oppenheimer security hearing, which shows the scientist arguing to keep his security clearance. 

Cillian Murphy shot the Oppenheimer security hearing sequence over two weeks

A huge portion of "Oppenheimer" focuses on the security hearing. The scenes are presented throughout the film, showing several of Oppenheimer's (Murphy) colleagues coming in to testify either in or against his favor. While continuing his chat with Collider, Murphy opened up about the security hearing's set and how it was devoid of any Hollywood glamour. "There weren't any moveable walls or anything like that; it was just all of us in there with this huge camera," the actor said, comparing production on the sequence to that of a play. "We did that for two weeks, so all these incredible actors, Jason Clarke and everybody, would come in and do their piece," the actor continued. 

It shouldn't be surprising that a decent portion of production was spent on the security hearing considering it's one of the most pivotal experiences in Oppenheimer's life. While "Oppenheimer" is a biopic and does take creative liberties, Nolan and his team ensured that the security hearing was as authentic as possible. The scenes which are shown in the film are directly lifted from the transcripts of the real hearing, making them all the more jarring and daunting to witness on the big screen. 

The sequence is equally special because it allows audiences to see characters from throughout the film react to the atomic bomb's fallout, allowing them to truly speak their mind about Oppenheimer's beliefs. It's hard to imagine "Oppenheimer" being so effective without the security hearing as a pivotal narrative device and Murphy knows that. "I found that very emotional and heavy, but in a brilliant way," Murphy added in his chat with the outlet. "It was a real challenge. So, that was my favorite chunk of the movie in terms of shooting."