Last Thursday was the London premiere of Christopher Nolan’s new film Oppenheimer. Máté Haumann, who played the role of Leo Szilard, was on the red carpet. The film will be released in Hungarian cinemas from 20 July.
The screenplay is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Christopher Nolan, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, entitled American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer tells the story of the development of the American atomic bomb from the point of view of Robert Oppenheimer, considered the “father of the atomic bomb”.
The title role is played by Cillian Murphy and his wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, is portrayed by Emily Blunt. Matt Damon plays General Leslie Groves Jr., the director of the Manhattan Project, Robert Downey Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, the founding commissioner of the US Atomic Energy Commission, and the star-studded cast includes Florence Pugh, Casey Affleck, Kenneth Branagh and Rami Malek.
Máté Haumann suitably plays Leo Szilard, the first physicist of Hungarian descent to realize that the nuclear chain reaction (and thus the atomic bomb) could be created.
Leo Szilárd. Photo: Wikipedia
FactLeo Szilard (1898 – May 30, 1964) was a Hungarian-German-American physicist and inventor. He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea in 1936. He saw it as a frightening possibility that Nazi Germany might be the first to develop the atomic bomb, and and in late 1939, convinced Albert Einstein to write a letter to the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, saying that they should be the first to do so. Leo Szilard was actively involved in the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic weapon, but before Germany’s surrender he submitted a proposal to President Roosevelt urging a limit on the use of the atomic bomb.
Together with Enrico Fermi, he applied for a nuclear reactor patent in 1944. In addition to the nuclear reactor, Szilard coined and submitted the earliest known patent applications and the first publications for the concepts of electron microscope (1928), the linear accelerator (1928), and the cyclotron (1929) in Germany, proving him as the originator of the idea of these devices.
Other Hungarians who worked on the Manhattan Project alongside Leó Szilárd included Ede Teller, who appears in the film portrayed by Benny Safdie, and Jenő Wigner, who does not appear in Oppenheimer (his job was to solve chemical problems), as well as János Neumann (who did the mathematical calculations).
Máté Haumann was a student at the Guildhall School Of Music & Drama in London, where he graduated in 2002 and returned home. He has appeared in several theater performances in Budapest, Sopron and Veszprém, and has also appeared in Hungarian films and series. The actor played in the film Colette alongside Keira Knightley and in The Witcher, The Last Kingdom, and Houdini series. His father is the recently deceased Péter Haumann and his sister Petra Haumann are actors as well. In 2017, Péter Haumann played Harpagon, the father, in Molière’s The Miser at the Pesti Magyar Színház, while Petra and Máté Haumann played the children Èlise, and Clèante.
Featured image: Facebook/Haumann Máté