Real Reason Matt Damon is in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, According to Emily Blunt: “Maybe that’s why he cast you”

Christopher Nolan chose the lovable Matt Damon to play the unlikable Leslie Groves, and Emily Blunt has an idea why

Real Reason Matt Damon is in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, According to Emily Blunt: "Maybe that's why he cast you"


  • Matt Damon portrayed General Leslie Groves in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, who was an unlikable character.
  • Emily Blunt believes that Nolan's casting was intentional, as the lovable Damon playing the unlikable character helped connect the role with the audience.
  • Damon was impressed with Nolan finding the comedic moments with his grumpy character in an otherwise serious film.
Show More
Featured Video

Matt Damon portrayed the role of General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, in Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer. As per the book American Prometheus, which served as the basis for the film, Leslie Groves was depicted as a grumpy and unlikable character among scientists involved in the project. Damon’s co-star Emily Blunt suggested that his casting choice aimed to connect the audience with this character by having a likable actor in the role.

Matt Damon as General Leslie Groves in Oppenheimer
Matt Damon as General Leslie Groves in Oppenheimer

The interactions between Damon’s Groves and Cillian Murphy’s Robert Oppenheimer resonated well with the audience. Oppenheimer exceeded the expectations of its cast when the film grossed $954 million at the box office, becoming the third-highest-grossing film of 2023.

Also Read: “I bought my brother a car”: Matt Damon Became the Ideal Son and Brother with Only $25,000 as His First Paycheck


Emily Blunt Has An Explanation For Why Matt Damon Was Cast As Leslie Groves

Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

Matt Damon has been showing his versatility in various character roles in recent years, and his Oppenheimer role was no exception. Damon was entrusted with a role that stood in stark contrast to his own character. The Good Will Hunting actor discussed his role when he appeared for an interview with USA Today, alongside Emily Blunt.

Damon shared his knowledge about the unpopular US Army officer tasked with overseeing J. Robert Oppenheimer’s creation of the atomic bomb. It was Leslie Groves who brought the physicist into the project, as shown in the film, but Groves and Oppenheimer frequently had arguments. Damon expressed admiration for how Christopher Nolan found some comedy in Groves’s grumpy attitude. The Air actor shared with USA Today:

“They’re complete polar opposites. The military is obsessed with secrecy, and the scientists are trying to get to the root of the problem, which they do by sharing. Groves constantly felt like a kindergarten teacher chasing these guys around. So Chris found some comedy there, which is good for a movie about something so serious.”

Blunt suggested that Nolan intentionally cast Damon to create a connection between the audience and the unpopular character of Leslie Groves. The Devil Wears Prada actress pointed out that Damon’s lovable character and natural warmth contributed to making the otherwise alienating character more relatable. Blunt shared:


“Maybe that’s why he cast you. Everyone loves you and you have a natural warmth. If you cast someone unlikable playing someone unlikable, it would’ve been (alienating).”

Damon’s role achieved what Blunt suggested, but the Jason Bourne actor also did his homework for the role. According to Damon, the script was so good that he could have skipped the research completely. However, he chose to delve into the book American Prometheus and found a new level of appreciation for Nolan’s adaptation (via Digital Spy).

Also Read: Jennifer Lopez, Who Reportedly Doesn’t Want Ben Affleck & Matt Damon be Friends, May Not be Happy With Golden Globes Disrespecting Her Wishes

Matt Damon Almost Took A Break From Films If It Was Not For Oppenheimer

Matt Damon's Oppenheimer co-star Emily Blunt
Matt Damon’s Oppenheimer co-star Emily Blunt

Appearing on EW’s Around the Table with his Oppenheimer director and co-stars, Matt Damon revealed that he nearly took a hiatus from films before Christopher Nolan called him. He shared that he negotiated with his wife, Luciana Barroso, during couples therapy that he was going to take a break from Hollywood.


However, he placed one caveat that if Nolan were to call him for a film, he would immediately accept the role. Damon added that he didn’t know if Nolan was working on any projects at the time. Damon shared with EW:

“I had negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off. 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 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.”

Also Read: Bourne 5: Matt Damon Passing the Torch to Younger Stranger Things Star as Oscar Winner Hits 54 in 2024? New Report Hints a Successor

Oppenheimer looks to bag several accolades in the upcoming awards season. Nolan’s biopic is now available for rent on AppleTV+.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1476

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.