The real-life grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb and the subject of Christopher Nolan's box office hit Oppenheimer, has spoken out about the movie, revealing his least favorite scene.
"There are parts that I disagree with, but not really because of Nolan," he explained in a recent interview with Time. "The part I like the least is this poison apple reference, which was a problem in American Prometheus. If you read American Prometheus carefully enough, the authors say, 'We don't really know if it happened.' There's no record of him trying to kill somebody. That's a really serious accusation and it's historical revision."
American Prometheus is the biography of Oppenheimer that Nolan used as a source text for his movie, written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. When Charles refers to the "poison apple", he means a scene toward the start of the movie when the physicist is still studying at Cambridge and comes to blows with a hostile professor. After making Oppenheimer stay late, alone, after class, he injects an apple on the professor's desk with a syringe of poison (but promptly regrets his actions and returns to the classroom to dispose of it the next morning).
"There's not a single enemy or friend of Robert Oppenheimer who heard that during his life and considered it to be true," Charles continued. "American Prometheus got it from some references talking about a spring break trip, and all the original reporters of that story – there were only two, maybe three – reported that they didn't know what Robert Oppenheimer was talking about. Unfortunately, American Prometheus summarizes that as Robert Oppenheimer tried to kill his teacher and then they [acknowledge that] maybe there's this doubt."
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