Asking someone if they’re related to the destroyer of worlds is not a question a local journalist asks very often.
But Russell Oppenheimer doesn’t shy away from the fact he’s distantly related to the father of the atomic bomb.
Infact, the Hampshire County Council member for Petersfield Hangers is rather proud of the fact that J. Robert Oppenheimer is part of his family tree.
“It’s true, we are related as we are second cousins twice removed,” said Russell during a recent chat with the Post.
“I never met him, of course, but it’s a link I don’t shy away from. I’m actually a bit annoyed because the film about him is going to premiere when I’m away and I really wanted to be there on opening night.”
The Christopher Nolan film about the man “who became death” has been well received since opening.
Starring Cillian Murphy as the nuclear physicist and boasting a stellar cast with the likes of Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jnr and Emily Blunt, the epic tells the story of how Oppenheimer led the Manhattan Project and created the first atomic bomb.
While Russell has lived a much quieter life than the movie’s protagonist he realises his infamous surname will raise a few eyebrows. He’s also not ashamed of Robert’s creation and the role he’s played in history.
The councillor said: “I’ve read the biography the film is based on and it’s a wonderful book.
“I’m excited to see the movie because it’s got a wonderful cast and it’s an incredible story and it’s not just about the invention of the atomic bomb.
“He was a character that lots of people misunderstand and was ostracised when his security clearance was removed and that’s a fascinating story in itself.”