Cillian Murphy

The actor  has already worked with the British filmmaker Christopher Nolan on two previous occasions, before embarking on the ambitious project ‘Openheimer’. “There was no other actor to play this character, he is the best performer to guide us through three hours from Oppenheimer's point of view.

I have demanded so much of him as an actor and he demands so much of himself that it seems impossible to find someone like him. His ability to represent the character surprised me every day on set, but later also in the editing room.

I think Cillian is the best actor at the moment, not only because of his talent, but also because of his dedication to the production and the director. He is a man who leaves his ego at the door, who allows himself to be an actor and a normal person when he is not working” said Nolan about the Irish actor. Cillian is always himself, one of those actors who never goes unnoticed. Shy and reserved, has a very particular face, crowned by intense blue eyes. His ability as a performer has led him to give life to the most diverse characters and has been credible both as a bad guy and in dramatic stories where he gets to be the hero. Murphy was going to be a rock musician. In fact, he started composing songs at age ten. His obsession with The Beatles and Frank Zappa led him to go through various bands with his brother, but, in the end, his parents objected and he had to find another professional outlet. He enrolled in law, although he soon saw that the law was not his thing.

A play night of A Clockwork Orange caught his eye. The acting bug bit him and he went on to star in several plays. Danny Boyle noticed him after seeing him on Disco Pigs, where he was an unstable teenager, and offered him the title role of 28 Days Later, an apocalyptic horror film that established him as an actor. Since then, it has been accumulating successes. From Cold Mountain, to Batman Begins and his Netflix success Peaky Blinders.  Murphy is one of those actors who does not go unnoticed. Shy and reserved, he owns a very particular face, crowned by intense blue eyes that have become the most sought after in Hollywood. His acting ability has led him to give life to the most diverse characters and he has been credible both as a bad guy in the show and in dramatic stories. Despite not having starred in many commercial films, his resume has not stopped accumulating relevant titles since he broke into the film industry in 1998 with ‘The tale of Sweety Barrett’. His passion for the Spain was born by reading ‘Don Quixote’ but stays alive with the many spanish directors that now are succeeding in Hollywood

Murphy was going for a rock musician. In fact, he began composing songs at the age of ten. His obsession with The Beatles and Frank Zappa led him to go through several bands with his brother, but in the end his parents opposed it and he had to look for another professional outlet. He enrolled in Law, although he soon saw that law was not his thing.

Danny Boyle noticed him after seeing him in ‘’Disco Pigs, where he played an unstable teenager, and offered him the lead role in ‘28 Days Later’, a horror film set in apocalyptic London that did very well at the box office and received good reviews.  He lives happily with his wife and two children in Dublin and has no interest in moving to Hollywood. On the occasion of the anniversary, we review some of Murphy's best roles throughout his long acting career.

Q: You said that ‘Oppenheimer’ is one of the best movies from Christopher Nolan. What details were the most important for you?

A: I suppose more profoundly what I liked about it was the fact that it was a story about family and love. I found it very very emotional while at the same time was thrilling and scary and tense but overall, I found it to be a very emotional experience.

Q: You seem to have this talent to put a twist in the characters you play. Most of them are becoming cult characters, you seem to add the right twist to their essence. How do you do that?

A: I don’t know. I like characters that are unpredictable. Characters that might not be always scared or do what you first expect. I like to play characters where I do disappear on them, this character did represent that challenge for me. It was something that I never done before but it was also very well written

Q: When you have to shoot a movie. Do you like to watch old movies from the same genre?

A: No. I like to watch all kinds of movies because they are fun. I love going to the movie theater

Q: You changed your physicality again, you are completely different in this movie. Do you like to start with that aspect when you create a character?

A: We'll always is a journey to find the appearance of the character and I like to play characters

where I can disappear and where people don’t recognize you so Myself and Nolan talked a lot about the character, talked a lot about his back story and worked with the customs designer to be sure we did it right

Q: You have a good friendship with Christopher Nolan, in fact it goes back two decades. How much do you admire the director?

A: I've known him for 20 years, but even then, I was a fan, because I had seen ‘Memento’ (2000) and ‘Insomnia’ (2002). Our first meeting was when I auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne in ‘Batman Begins’ (2005), a role that Christian Bale eventually ended up getting. Meeting Chris for that movie was an epic moment for me. And by the way, it always seemed like a crazy idea for me to play Batman! But that meeting ultimately led to the role of the Scarecrow and an extraordinary work experience.

Q: What did you say when Chris called you  to play Oppenheimer, Cillian didn't think twice.

A: It’s always been clear for me. If Christopher Nolan asks you to do something, regardless of the size of the role, you do it. I didn't expect at all that he would call me to play Oppenheimer. But he did. When I hung up the phone, I just sat there, totally shocked. I felt very lucky. And we got to work. 

Q: How has the show Peaky Blinders changed your life?

A: Well, a lot. But I’m very happy with the show and the fact that audiences love it so much. We had an amazing run, and now all over the world people are watching it. Is crazy. We never expected to be so successful because people really like the characters. I feel really humble by that

Q: What do you think was the secret of that success?

A: The good writing is a really well written show. That is what I’m always trying to follow, finding good and original writing. You can see that in ‘Oppenheimer’ and in ‘Peaky Blinders’ and I’m very lucky to find those stories who also are the ones that people respond to. Something that is not seeing before, something that puts an original spin on a story on a character, people like that, something that is different

Q: Are you getting comfortable with fame?

A: I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it is not new to me. You are being very nice, but people don’t respond to me what people responds is to a good character well written, nothing changes without that

Q: Never come to Hollywood to live. Do you feel more protected in Ireland?

A: I live in Ireland because that is where I’m from and it doesn’t matter where you live in order to be an actor. I just like to be in Ireland, is quiet you know

Q: What is your relationship with Spain?

A: I love the cinema from Spain.

Q: Do you speak Spanish?

A: No. I’m really bad at other languages. I used to be able to speak French but I forgot most of it.

Q: Any favorite Spanish Author?

A: I will stay with Cervantes as I’ve been reading Don Quixote a few times. Don Quixote is accessible and funny. It is a gem of Spanish Literature. I understand that it is massive, but is always worth it. For me a good vacation in Spain would be a nice beach, good music, a glass of wine and ‘Don Quixote’.

María Estévez

Correspondent writer