'Oppenheimer' had 'Veep' to thank for its Oval Office set

While one might think the deadly serious Manhattan Project movie Oppenheimer would have little in common with HBO's Emmy-winning political satire Veep, you'd be wrong.

In fact, director Christopher Nolan has Veep to thank for his blockbuster's Oval Office set.

In a discussion that was part of Variety's Artisans Screening Series, Oppenheimer production designer Ruth De Jong revealed the crew was set to use a replica of the presidential office at Yorba Linda, California's Nixon Library, but the deal fell through just days before Gary Oldman was slated to sit behind its desk as President Harry S. Truman.

Oldman only had time to shoot per the original schedule, so De Jong scrambled, and her supervising art director, Samantha Englander, managed to snag Veep's set, which had been disassembled and packed flat since the Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy wrapped in 2019.

"It was a mess," De Jong said.

She assembled a team to work around the clock for five days to get the important office back into shape — and rapidly build a lobby and a cabinet room for Oldman's Truman. She noted that "the paint was still wet" when Oldman performed.

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