Christopher Nolan “always wanted” to work with Robert Downey Jr. before casting him in ‘Oppenheimer’.
The director has admitted he was a longtime admirer of the actor before handing him a role in the atomic bomb blockbuster – which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations – and Nolan says he wanted Downey Jr. in the cast because of his “incredible generosity of spirit”.
During an appearance on ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’, Nolan explained: “With anybody you work with, with actors … you’re looking for some kind of connection emotionally, empathetically.
“You’re looking for some kind of generosity. He [Downey Jr. ] has this incredible generosity of spirit. It means when he’s in a scene with other people he’s making sure they are all doing their best, that they are all able to bring their best to the table. He’s helping them clarify those emotional connections.”
He added of Downey Jr. : “I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’ve always seen that in his work.”
Nolan went on to reveal Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark in the ‘Iron Man’ movies convinced him of the actor’s brilliance. The director went on: “He has such charisma as Tony Stark.
“Him playing Iron Man is one of the most consequential casting decisions that’s ever been made in the history of the movie business. I wanted to give him the opportunity to lose himself in a part, lose himself in another human being the way great actors love him.”
‘Oppenheimer’ looks set to be the toast of the Oscars after scoring 13 nominations including a Best Director nod for Nolan and a shot at the coveted Best Picture gong.
It was also a huge box office hit and Nolan says the film’s success has made him feel a lot more positive about the state of the movie industry.
He told Empire magazine: “I’ve just made a three-hour film about Robert Oppenheimer which is R-rated and half in black-and-white – and it made a billion dollars.
“Of course, I think films are doing great. The crazy thing is that it’s literally the most successful film I’ve ever made.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and in the United Kingdom it’s my highest-grossing film. So I feel great about the state of the movie business, based on my own experience.”