Cillian Murphy will portray J. Robert Oppenheimer as he develops the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project during the Second World in the upcoming Universal biopic. 

In a first look at the upcoming film, Murphy, who enjoys a long-running working relationship with Christopher Nolan dating back to "Batman Begins" in 2005, can be seen staring intently into the camera and smoking a cigarette. Oppenheimer was a notorious chain smoker who died from throat cancer in 1967.

— Universal Pictures (@UniversalPics) February 22, 2022

The biopic has started production in New Mexico, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Murphy will star alongside Robert Downey Jr. Matt Damon, Emily BluntFlorence Pugh, and Rami Malek, while Kenneth Branagh has also been added to the star-studded line-up. 

The film is based on Kai Bird's 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning book "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer", which also explores how Oppenheimer faced unfounded allegations that he was a Soviet agent during the Cold War. 

Written and directed by Nolan, the film be shot on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film.

Nolan has assembled a creative team that includes previous collaborators, such as director of photography Hoyte Van Hoytema, editor Jennifer Lame, and composer Ludwig Göransson.

Universal reportedly won a fierce bidding war for the project and prised Nolan away from his long-term home at Warner Bros. 

The film is set to be released on July 21, 2023, in keeping with Nolan's long-standing tradition of releasing films during the month of July.