With you and Chris Nolan working together once again, how much has your process and dynamic changed with him being a lead compared to the supporting roles you’ve had years before?
Well I can only be on set anymore [laughs]. I loved. I mean, I loved it. He’s one of the best directors we have right now making movies, and I’ve learned a lot working with him. I told him at the beginning of this, “Just push me, Chris. I do my best work when I’m pushed.” And he’s the best director for it because he really, really, really pushes you.
Have you noticed how much he has evolved as a filmmaker over the years, and even yourself as an actor working with him?
I think he’s refining his vision as a filmmaker. I think if you look at the progression of the movies, I think this may be his masterpiece. And we’ve both grown old [laughs]We have both had children. I’ve left and done a lot of other jobs, but I love working with Chris again. There is no set that runs as smoothly, quietly and efficiently as a Chris Nolan set. I’ve never been on a set like that. Everyone is laser focused on their work.
As a “Peaky Binders” fan, I couldn’t help but notice how much Oppenheimer and Tommy Shelby are, maybe not exactly cut from the same cloth, but they’re both complicated leads and you wouldn’t necessarily call them a hero or a villain. . They have that grey-toned look.
Did you feel that when you read the script and do you feel drawn to that particular archetype?
Yes, I am attracted to that type of character. I think they are the most interesting. I didn’t see any particular parallels between Oppenheimer and Tommy: they both smoked a lot of cigarettes. [laughs]. But I do find these characters fascinating because they are not easily accessible to the actor and I think they are very enigmatic and attractive to the viewer. And I also think that’s where the most interesting drama is, in the gray area.