How Matt Damon's Couples Therapy Sessions Helped Him Score a Role in 'Oppenheimer'

The actor had to make a deal with his wife in the event Christopher Nolan had a film role for him.

Matt Damon is starring in the much-talked-about new Christopher Nolan movie Oppenheimer, and it turns out that he owes it all to couples therapy with his wife, Luciana Bozán Barroso. Damon shared the story during a panel discussion for Entertainment Weekly's "Around the Table", where he was joined by some of his co-stars, as well as Nolan. "This is going to sound made up, but it's actually true," Damon confessed. "[I] negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off." 

He went on to explain, "I had been in Interstellar, and then Chris put me on ice for a couple of movies, so I wasn't in the rotation," referring to his cameo in Nolan's 2014 sci-fi film. "But I actually negotiated in couples therapy ­-- this is a true story -- the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called." Damon then added, "This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything, because he never tells you. He just calls you out of the blue. And so, it was a moment in my household."

In Oppenheimer, Murphy stars as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weapons. It is directed, written, and co-produced by Nolan, and is based on the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Damon portrays Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr., the Army Corps of Engineers officer who was in charge of the Manhattan Project for the government. The new film is a biopic-thriller about the life and career of Oppenheimer, with additional performances from a star-studded cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Gary Oldman, Benny Safdie, and David Krumholtz, among many others.

Nolan recently spoke with Entertainment Tonight and offered some insight into the true story behind the film. "When Oppenheimer was running the Manhattan Project and they were doing their calculations, early on they saw the possibility that when they triggered the first atomic device, to test it, they might start a chain reaction that set fire to the atmosphere and destroyed the whole world," Nolan explained. "A small possibility, [but they] couldn't eliminate it completely through theory, and yet they went ahead and they pushed that button. As a filmmaker, that's the kind of story you're looking to tell." 

Oppenheimer opens in theaters on Friday, July 21.