Almost a “who’s who” of celebrated actors of the past decade, the SAG Awards-nominated ensemble for “Oppenheimer” is so large that many of the cast members didn’t make the cut for the award. One actor who did and left a very memorable impression was Florence Pugh. The Oscar-nominated actress portrayed Jean Tatlock, perhaps the scientist’s one true love, in a small but pivotal role. Pugh has been part of the long awards season campaign for Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster epic when possible and recently participated alongside co-stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt in a Q&A in London moderated by Jamie Dornan.
Always refreshingly blunt (no pun intended), Pugh revealed something during the conversation that often gets left on the cutting room floor during interviews, mechanical failure. While filming a key sex scene opposite Murphy, with both stars naked, the film camera stopped working. Clearly, this had never happened to either actor before in this context.
“In the middle of our sex scene, the camera broke. No one knows this but it did,” Pugh says. “Our camera broke when we were both naked and it was not ideal timing and there weren’t many cameras. One camera was in the shop being fixed and Chris turned and asked ‘Where’s the other camera?’ The camera was in the shop, bad news for that person who gave him the news and then we had to figure out how to fi this camera. So, Cillian and I are in this room together and it’s a closed set we’re both holding our bodies like this and this camera surgeon comes into the room and starts doing [makes noises like fixing something] on this camera, because this camera is broken and I’m like, ‘Well, this is my moment to learn. ‘So, tell me, what’s wrong with this camera?’ So, you just make your moments. I’m like, ‘What’s going on with the shutter her buddy?’”
Pugh reveals that Nolan eventually explained the light was coming in incorrectly in the shutter. It was a memorable moment for the actress not necessarily because of the awkwardness of being naked longer than expected on a closed set, but because, “It’s just crazy that every person on the set was so knowledgable and so ready to make this kind of a movie that there was no dull moment. It was all amazing. It felt like we were lucky to be there every second of the day.”
The Universal Pictures release earned 13 Oscar nominations last week including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor. The Best Picture frontrunner, the movie will learn how close it is to Academy Awards immortality when the SAG Awards and PGA Awards are held on Feb 24 and Feb 25, respectively.
Pugh, who voiced a character in the Animated Feature nominee “The Boy and the Heron,” will be seen next in “Dune: Part Two.” She also recently wrapped John Crowley’s “We Live In Time” opposite Andrew Garfield. She’s expected to reprise her role as Yelena Belova in Marvel Studios’ “Thunderbolts” which is scheduled to begin production this spring.