Cillian Murphy Was Nearly TV’s Oppenheimer A Decade Ago

Joining Sam Shaw in the interview with Vanity Fair was his wife and fellow “Manhattan” writer Lisa Byock, who revealed to the publication that in addition to the likes of Cillian Murphy, some major names from the music world were also among those they mulled over to play J. Robert Oppenheimer in their series.

“When we were casting Oppenheimer, we went through a whole series of different ideas,” Byock told Vanity Fair. “There were actually some rock stars we considered,” to which Shaw replied, “David Bowie was not available. I’m sure we talked about David Bowie, didn’t we?”

Byock replied by saying that Beck was discussed as a possible candidate for the role. Shaw told Vanity Fair that he wasn’t sure that he and Byock attempted to get in touch with Beck about the role, but that he was indeed considered. No matter the name of the rockers they were thinking about, Shaw told the publication that there was a reason prominent musicians were in the conversation about the qualities they wanted for whoever would play Oppenheimer.

“We wanted Oppenheimer to feel both like he possessed a certain undeniable charisma, a presence onstage, but also that he was playing a different instrument,” Shaw told Vanity Fair. “He needed to feel alien — or other — in some ways. He stood out.”

When all was said and done, Shaw was very happy that Daniel London was cast in the role.

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