Emily Blunt warned 'Oppenheimer' costar Robert Downey Jr. to not expect overt praise from 'very English' director Christopher Nolan

Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt promoting
Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt promoting "Oppenheimer" in London in July.Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
  • Emily Blunt spoke about her experience working with "Oppenheimer" director Christopher Nolan.

  • Blunt said that Nolan is more subtle when it comes to praising an actor's work.

  • Blunt said that she told costar Robert Downey Jr. to expect "some very British compliments."

Emily Blunt said that she gave "Oppenheimer" costar Robert Downey Jr. a heads up about director Christopher Nolan's nuanced, British approach to giving positive reinforcement and affirmations.

"I remember when I first met Robert Downey Jr., I said, 'You're going to just love it so much and the screws are going to get tightened on you so much and it's just the most focused, wonderful, unchaotic set. But you're going to get some very British compliments,'" Blunt recalled during the latest installment of Variety's "Actors on Actors," released on Tuesday. "There will be no smoke blown up your ass and you're going to have to be alright with it.'"

Blunt was paired with "The Devil Wears Prada" costar Anne Hathaway for her conversation. During their discussion, the stars gushed about working with Nolan.

Hathaway previously starred in Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Interstellar," while Blunt recently portrayed Kitty Oppenheimer in the director's 2023 film about J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), who oversaw the invention of the atomic bomb.

In "Oppenheimer," Downey played a government official named Lewis Strauss.

Emily Blunt as Kitty Oppenheimer in
Emily Blunt as Kitty Oppenheimer in "Oppenheimer."Universal Pictures

Blunt said that Nolan, whom she nicknamed "Captain Extraordinary," isn't super expressive in conveying his pleasure with an actor's performance.

"I always feel that with Chris' hair, I can tell when he is very happy with a take because his hair starts to dance," she said. "He has quite expressive hair, I noticed. It's almost like he vibrates when he's really happy with a take. He's not going to tell you that he's that happy, though, because he's very English."

Blunt also raved about Nolan's ability to give clear directions while still being fun, warm, and accessible.

"It's all those things that people don't assume about him," she said. "I think everyone's very intimidated."

"The part that blows my mind about Chris, because he is authoritative in the best sense of the word, is how deeply he really listens," Hathaway agreed. "He's so present with you."

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