“I kept on hearing that”: Christopher Nolan Used The Avengers to Convince Wife for Keeping His Oppenheimer Idea Alive After Initial Disagreement

Christopher Nolan used Avengers: Endgame to solve a disagreement over Oppenheimer's length.

Christopher Nolan Used The Avengers to Convince Wife for Keeping His Oppenheimer Idea Alive After Initial Disagreement


  • Christopher Nolan-directed Oppenheimer won five awards at the Golden Globes 2024.
  • During initial discussions, Nolan and Emma Thomas disagreed over Oppenheimer's length.
  • The filmmaker used Avengers: Endgame's success as an example to convince Thomas.
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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was the big winner at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards, bagging five awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.


The documentary feature on J. Robert Oppenheimer, who’s considered the father of the atomic bomb, also had a phenomenal run at the box office, grossing $954.7 million globally.

Christopher Nolan
Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan

Now, it’s easy to wax lyrical about Nolan’s vision, which he conveyed by using the latest of IMAX technology, but the British filmmaker had to work hard to convince Emma Thomas, his wife and producer of every feature film he has ever directed.


Read more: Oppenheimer Beats Barbie: Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Christopher Nolan’s Victory March To Oscars after Golden Globes Decimation

How Avengers: Endgame Helped Christopher Nolan During Oppenheimer Discussions

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan have sort of walked side by side in Hollywood since day one. Their incredible partnership has generated more than $6 billion at the worldwide box office since the much-acclaimed filmmaker’s directorial debut, Following (1998).

Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan

Nolan has now seemingly built for himself a reputation that attracts the biggest studios in Hollywood to his ideas. As such, one would think it must’ve been easy for him to convince everyone about his biographical project on “the most important person who ever lived.”


However, that’s far from the truth. If anything, The Dark Knight director had to use Avengers: Endgame as an example in his pitch to convince Thomas that Oppenheimer would be a success.

In an interview with Variety, the experienced producer described Oppenheimer as “the riskiest film we have made — with the possible exception of Inception.”

Thomas didn’t feel there was a “guaranteed audience” for the film. Further, there were some tough discussions about cutting down the American Prometheus-inspired story. This is when Nolan mentioned the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which is 3 hours and 2 minutes long. She recalled:


“The problem was there was really no way you could cut it down. When you look at that book, there wasn’t any version of this film that wasn’t going to be three hours. When I first started moaning about it, Chris would say, ‘Well, you know … The Avengers.’ And I kept on hearing that, so I just kept saying, ‘Avengers. Avengers.'”

The 52-year-old added that eventually, it was the “Imax platform” that stopped Nolan’s masterpiece from crossing the three-hour mark.

Read more: Christopher Nolan Made Wife Emma Thomas Change Her Original Career Dream Just After Meeting Her in College: “A very awkward lunch with my father”

How Matt Damon joined Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer

Nolan had to make extra effort to get his wife’s nod, but roping in Matt Damon for the biopic about the stoic scientist was supposedly a cakewalk.

Christopher Nolan in an interview | Screengrab from Youtube/BBC Newsnight
Christopher Nolan | Screengrab from Youtube/BBC Newsnight

When the Inception mastermind was shaping his cast for Oppenheimer, Damon was on a break from acting as a promise to his wife, Luciana Barroso. However, he had inserted one break clause: it would go on hold if Christopher Nolan called.

That’s exactly what happened and Damon ended up brilliantly portraying Leslie Groves, a lieutenant general in the United States Army and the director of the Manhattan Project.

He’s yet to win any award for the performance, but his castmates have already started collecting trophies. On Sunday night, Cillian Murphy won the award for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, and Robert Downey Jr. was honored for his supporting role of Lewis Strauss.


Written by Vishal Singh

Articles Published: 514

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.