How Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh39s 39Oppenheimer39 Sex Scene Was

How Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh's 'Oppenheimer' Sex Scene Was Awkwardly Interrupted: 'Not Ideal'


Published January 29, 2024, 11:59 a.m. ET

It was an explosive moment on set.

During a Universal panel with the stars and director Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer actress Florence Pugh, 28, revealed that she and co-star Cillian Murphy, 47, were filming their sex scene when they were awkwardly interrupted.

“In the middle of our sex scene, the camera broke,” she said. “No one knows, but it knew. Our camera broke when we were both naked and that wasn’t an ideal time.”

In the film, Pugh played Jean Tatlock, J. Robert, Oppenheimer's (Murphy) communist lover with whom he cheated on his wife Kitty (Emily Blunt).

The story follows Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” and a group of scientists as they rush to complete the infamous Manhattan Project, which culminated on August 6, 1945 with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Florence Pugh said she and Cillian Murphy were filming their sex scene when the camera broke. ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

With a whopping 13 nominations, it leads the race for the 2024 Oscars – including Best Picture, Best Director for Nolan, Best Actor for Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr. and “Best Supporting Actress” for “Blunt, 40.”

Pugh, who didn't receive a nomination, said she made the most of the on-set blooper.

“'This is my moment to learn,'” he recalled at the time. “'So tell me, what's wrong with this camera?'”

“You just create your moments,” she added. “I'm like, 'What's going on with the shutter here, buddy?'”

Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy – who both received Oscar nominations for “Oppenheimer” – with Florence Pugh. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The “Oppenheimer” sex scene was already condemned by India in June 2023. Indian officials called the scene a “devastating attack on Hinduism” because Jean (Pugh) once went to a bookshelf and grabbed a copy of the “Bhagavad Gita.”

Oppenheimer (Murphy) reads the line: “I have become death, destroyer of worlds.”

“It has come to our attention that the film 'Oppenheimer' contains a scene that is a scathing attack on Hinduism.” tweeted Uday Mahurkar, then Information Commissioner of the Government of India.

Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. at the “Oppenheimer” premiere. AFP via Getty Images

“According to social media reports, a scene in the film shows a woman [making] A man read “Bhagwad Geeta” out loud while getting over him and having sexual intercourse.”

“She is holding Bhagwad Geeta in one hand and the other hand appears to be adjusting the position of her reproductive organs,” Mahurkar continued. “The Bhagwad Geeta is one of the most revered scriptures in Hinduism. Geeta has been the inspiration for countless sanyasis, brahmacharis and legends who live a life of self-restraint and perform selfless, noble deeds.”

The famous “Oppenheimer” sex scene caused controversy. AP

A shot of Pugh topless was also censored in countries including India and the Middle East.

The scene is a departure for Nolan, 53, whose films are typically cold and sexless.

“I'm worried that Christopher Nolan didn't know what sex was and he had the actors stand naked with their thumbs pressed against each other's foreheads,” joked one viewer.

For his part, Nolan told Insider: “If you look at Oppenheimer's life and his story, that aspect of his life, the aspect of his sexuality, the way he treated women, the charm that he exuded, that's an essential part of his story.”

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