When presented with the opportunity to work with Christopher Nolan, Florence Pugh would have played a fly on the wall, let alone a background barista. So strong were her convictions on this matter that she barely needed to look at the script.
When Pugh and Nolan met for drinks in New York, he once again apologized for the size of the role. In the same interview with MTV Movies, she put on a jokey strained whisper and recalled saying, “Please don’t apologize.” Pugh continued, “Even when I got the script, I remember being like, ‘I don’t need … I know I’m going to do it.”
That seemed to be a common sentiment among the “Oppenheimer” cast. In a promotional featurette for the film, Emily Blunt — who plays Oppenheimer’s embattled wife, Kitty — put it plainly. “If Chris Nolan calls you and says he’d like to meet with you, you’re like, ‘I don’t care what it is.'”
Pugh’s role may have been comparatively small, but her few scenes have courted a disproportionate amount of controversy. During the notable love scene between Tatlock and Oppenheimer, she interrupts their tryst to pull the Bhagavad Gita from Oppenheimer’s bookshelf, whereupon he utters the famous line: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” The scene sparked outrage among Hindu nationalists and right-wing figures in India. Moreover, the sex scene was changed in certain countries to censor nudity, with some nations covering Pugh’s body with a CGI dress.