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Christopher Nolan Eyes Atomic Bomb WWII Drama, Looking at Studios Outside WB — Report

Nolan is reportedly looking outside his beloved Warner Bros., which released "Tenet" in 2020, for his next historical drama.

FILE - In this May 12, 2018, file photo, director Christopher Nolan poses during a photo call at the 71st international film festival in Cannes, southern France. Warner Bros. says it will release Nolan's latest film, the sci-fi espionage spectacle “Tenet," in theaters on July 31, 2020. The release date has been closely watched because so many other releases during the film industry's blockbuster-filled summer season have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

Christopher Nolan

Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Christopher Nolan may be returning to World War II territory a la “Dunkirk” for his next movie, the followup to his 2020 espionage thriller “Tenet.” According to Deadline, Nolan’s next film “will focus on a seminal moment in World War II. This one is J. Robert Oppenheimer’s role in the development of the atom bomb during WWII.”

The Deadline report adds that Nolan may be looking outside his native Warner Bros., which has previously released films such as “Tenet,” the “Dark Knight” movies, “Inception,” and more to great box-office success.

“Here is a bombshell development: while none of Nolan’s recent movies had gone outside Warner Bros, I’m hearing that several of the major studios across town are reading the screenplay and speaking with Nolan and his reps,” Deadline reports.

Deadline reports that Cillian Murphy, who starred in the “Dark Knight” films, “Inception,” and the also-WWII-themed “Dunkirk,” is in talks to star.

IndieWire has reached out to representatives for Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. for comment.

Rumors have swirled that other studios have been trying to lure Nolan following his public ire over WarnerMedia’s decision to drop all of Warner Bros.’ 2021 slate day-and-date on streaming service HBO Max.

Warner Bros. delayed the release of “Tenet” three times over the course of 2020 due to the pandemic, eventually dropping it in whatever theaters were possible on September 3. In a late-2020 interview with ET Online, Nolan said he was in “disbelief” over Warners’ handling of new releases, adding, “There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone. In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They’re meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences… And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service — for the fledgling streaming service — without any consultation. So, there’s a lot of controversy.”

Nolan had stronger words in a December 2020 statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter that slammed HBO Max as “the worst streaming service.”

“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” he wrote. “Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”

Nolan has been vocal about wanting to make a biographical historical drama centered around one person. He wanted to make a Howard Hughes film before Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” came along. This new WWII film could be his shot at a focused bio-drama.

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