An intellectual, deep-feeling introvert, sensual, free-spirited, yet prone to bouts of melancholy, Jean Tatlock was a Stanford-educated psychiatrist who had an intense yet tortured romance with J. Robert Oppenheimer. To play Tatlock, the filmmakers cast Florence Pugh. She took the part for the chance to work with a director she admired. “It’s a Christopher Nolan movie, number one,” says Pugh, “and number two, he has one of the most incredible leads. Cillian Murphy is an actor that I have been watching for quite some time and have been desperate to work with for ages. You’d have to be mad to say no. It felt like I was playing sports with some of the best athletes, so it was truly one of the best experiences that I’ve had.”

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Florence Pugh is incandescent.

Pugh enjoyed playing a force-of-nature personality pushing against social conventions that demeaned and limited women of that era. “Jean’s blunt and knows what she wants, and at no point is she ever punished for it, especially not by Oppenheimer,” Pugh says. “With Oppenheimer, Jean’s completely in control and in her element. Creating a woman with that much power, as well as all these other complex aspects to her, and to create her relationship with Oppenheimer in collaboration with Chris and Cillian, was itself a powerful, empowering experience and endlessly interesting.”

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