“That absolutely got me hooked”: ’80s Song from Sting Inspired Christopher Nolan to Make Oppenheimer With Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr.

80s Song from Sting Inspired Christopher Nolan to Make Oppenheimer With Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr.
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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has raked in over $777 million at the box office from its theatrical run so far. Oppenheimer explores the story of the Father of the Atom Bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Christopher Nolan made the movie based on the book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

Robert Downey Jr. and Christopher Nolan at the UK premiere of Oppenheimer
Robert Downey Jr. and Christopher Nolan at Oppenheimer promotions

The Dark Knight director revealed that he got the idea for Oppenheimer way before American Prometheus was published. At the time, Nolan lacked sufficient material to craft a compelling story.

Also Read: Christopher Nolan Hates CGI But 2 of His Greatest Movies Are Tied With Humongous 700 VFX Shots – Surprisingly, His $729M Movie Has Lowest VFX Usage


Christopher Nolan’s Idea For Oppenheimer Was Inspired By An ‘80s Song

English Singer Sting
Sting’s song Russians acted as an inspiration for Nolan’s Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan appeared alongside Robert Downey Jr. in a fun Q&A with WIRED, where they answered popular Google Searches about themselves. In one such query, Nolan was asked about the source of his brilliant ideas. Nolan responded that he got his ideas from all over the place. The Insomnia director disclosed how as a kid in the 1980s, he was afraid of dying in the nuclear armageddon.

The Interstellar director recalled a particular song that introduced him to Oppenheimer. The song in question is Russians by the English singer, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner popularly known as Sting. Sting is famous for his songs like Every Breath You Take, Desert Rose, and Fragile. Nolan shared:

“Oppenheimer, something I had been interested in a long time. Didn’t know that much about the specifics of his story. Then came the book American Prometheus. And that absolutely got me hooked. So in the case of Oppenheimer, the idea, I mean, gosh, I trace it right back to, like, you know, as a kid in the eighties and we all thought we were gonna die in nuclear armageddon. You remember Sting had the song Russians. Oppenheimer’s deadly toys.”

Russians song was Sting’s response to the Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War period. Nolan and Downey Jr. then went on to recite the lyrics of the popular song. The Oppenheimer reference in the song goes like “How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?”.


Also Read: “There is a great story to be told”: Christopher Nolan Dashed Tom Cruise’s Top Gun 2 Director’s Dream Disney Remake Which He Feels is Extremely Underrated

Not Only Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Russians Influenced Another Film Too

James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the sets of Terminator 2
Russians also inspired James Cameron’s Terminator 2

Before Christopher Nolan revealed the song to be one of his inspirations, another Oscar-winning director also cited the song as his inspiration. James Cameron revealed that the addition of the 10-year-old John Connor, the central character in Terminator 2, was inspired by the Russians song. Cameron recalled the inspiration in an interview involving the crew of The Terminator. The Avatar director talked about how the idea came to him:

“I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for Terminator, and I was struck by Sting’s song, that ‘I hope the Russians love their children too.’ And I thought, ‘You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.’ That’s where the kid came from.”

Also Read: “Please don’t apologise”: Florence Pugh Reveals Christopher Nolan Was Ashamed to Offer Her ‘Oppenheimer’ Role That Got Her into a PR Nightmare With the N*de Scene


The meaningful song that inspired legendary directors was re-recorded and released again as an acoustic version, during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Fans will have to thank the thought-provoking song for Nolan’s visually brilliant Oppenheimer.

Source: WIRED -YouTube


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1470

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.