Why 'Oppenheimer' Director Christopher Nolan Does Not Send Emails or Use a Smartphone

The 'Oppenheimer' cast also recalls to ET how the filmmaker hand delivers scripts instead of sending them electronically.

Despite making some of the most revered sci-fi movies of the past few decades, Christopher Nolan does not use modern technology, like email or smartphones. According to a Hollywood Reporter interview with the British director behind Oppenheimer, his latest theatrical release, it's about avoiding distractions that come with having advanced devices. 

"I think technology and what it can provide is amazing. My personal choice is about how involved I get," Nolan says in an interview with the trade publication. "It’s about the level of distraction. If I’m generating my material and writing my own scripts, being on a smartphone all day wouldn’t be very useful for me." 

And because he doesn't use email, that means he has a different method of getting copies of his scripts to his cast members: hand delivering them. "People will say, 'Why do you work in secrecy?' Well, it’s not secrecy, it’s privacy," Nolan says, explaining that not sending his scripts electronically is not about trying to be covert. "It’s being able to try things, to make mistakes, to be as adventurous as possible."

In fact, it's how the ensemble cast of Oppenheimer initially received a copy of Nolan's latest work, which is a historical drama about the Godfather of the atomic bomb starring Cillian Murphy as theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, Emily Blunt as his wife and botanist Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer, Matt Damon as director of the Manhattan Project Leslie Groves and Robert Downey Jr. as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Lewis Strauss. 

Having worked on five of Nolan's previous films, including Inception and the Batman franchise, Murphy first received a "call out of the blue" about Oppenheimer before the director showed up on his doorstep. "In classic Chris style, he flew from L.A. to give me the actual script," Murphy recalled to ET, explaining that "you never get anything on email. He has to give you the physical copy." 


It was the same for Damon, but his visit came with a time restriction. "He came to my [place] on a Friday night with a script and we talked for a couple hours and he left the script for me," the actor said, revealing that Nolan then asked him when he was planning to read the copy, which was scripted for a three-hour movie. "I said, 'I read scripts in real time, so I don't race through them. I'm going to read it at the same pace of the movie.' And he goes, 'When are you going to start?' And I said, '9 a.m.' and he said, 'I'll be here at noon.'"

And sure enough, Nolan came back right on time. "He came back at noon and took the script back and then we sat and talked for hours and hours about the movie," Damon said. 

Instead of Nolan coming to him, Downey actually went to the director's home. "I went over to his house and read the script," the actor recounted, revealing that upon reading it, "It was amazing." 

"He's protective of it [in the] early stages," Blunt went on to explain. "He knows enough to know that word gets out and he doesn't want it to go through the agencies. Like, you go to his house or he comes to you and he hands you the physical script and then he takes off. And then once you start shooting, you give him the script." 

Oppenheimer opens in theaters on Friday, July 21.