How Cillian Murphy became Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphythe way to secure Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s place in Oppenheimer nothing so interesting. Some might say serendipitous. What started as a first meeting with the director Christopher Nolan became a deep and enduring collaboration that spanned decades, culminating in Murphy landing the lead role in this landmark historical biopic.
Success is Oppenheimer has been so impressive, making it Nolan’s highest grossing film on IMAX screens and the 8th biggest IMAX release of all time. Earning an astonishing $114.2 million worldwide on IMAX screens, this impressive figure stands as a testament not only to the film’s massive success but also to the strength of the creative collaboration between director and actor .
Known for portraying morally questionable characters, such as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders and Robert Fischer in Start, Murphy proved his versatility by taking on the challenge of introducing the brilliant but controversial physicist Dr. Oppenheimer. Despite the time constraints, Murphy fully embraced the role, entering the complex character with great skill and enthusiasm, cementing his position as a great portrayal of Dr. Oppenheimer in this gripping biographical drama.
- Release date
- Christopher Nolan
- Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr.
- Main Character
- curriculum vitae
- War, Biography, Drama
- Kai Bird, Christopher Nolan, Martin J. Sherwin
Was Cillian Murphy offered the role?
After collaborating with Murphy for over twenty years, Nolan approached him personally with the role of Dr. Oppenheimer. But unlike his previous collaborations with the director, Oppenheimer marks the first time Murphy has a leading role in one of Nolan’s films. Catching Murphy off guard, he got a call from Nolan, who offered him the role directly. In an interview with Collider, the actor shared how surprised he was when he received the call and how much of a dream it is to be at the forefront of history.
I think any actor in the world would, firstly, want to work with Chris, but secondly, he directed him. I can’t think of a better word than dream. It sounds like such a cliché, but it’s the truth. But I didn’t know he was going to call me. He called me out of the blue. That’s it MO; you never hear from him and then he calls. [Laughs] So he called me, and I didn’t know what it was going to be, and then he said, “I’m making this movie about Oppenheimer and I’d like you to play Oppenheimer. ” It’s a big shock, and a very pleasant one, but then you say, “Okay, now I have a lot of work to do.”
In September 2020, Nolan traveled to Dublin to meet Murphy in person and present him with a physical copy of the script. This script immediately caught Murphy’s attention because it departed from the traditional third-person perspective, opting instead for a first-person perspective. According to Murphy, the script had a huge impact on him, completely blowing his mind.
This was one of the best screenplays I’ve ever read, bar none. For example, he wouldn’t say, ‘Oppenheimer walks into the room and talks to Strauss.’ He would say, ‘I walk into the room,’ and ‘walk over and talk to Strauss.’ That’s how it was written.”
Are there audio tapes you can watch?
At this time, listening tapes for Oppenheimer They are not currently available, at least to the public’s knowledge. While not much is known about Murphy’s audition process, other co-stars Matt Damonwho plays Leslie Groves, and Emily Blunt, who plays Kitty Oppenheimer, gives a glimpse into Nolan’s “convenience casting” process, in which Nolan usually invites people over to his house to read his script. But in Damon’s case, it was a little different (and funnier).
In my case, he actually came—this is kind of a funny story—he came to my apartment here in New York, and I live in the same apartment building as Emily. So he came because he had personal reasons to be in New York, so he said, “I’m going to come over, and I’m going to bring you the script.” I said, “Great.” So, he comes over and we talk. It’s Friday night, it’s getting late, and he says, “So you’re going to read tomorrow morning?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “What time?” And I said, “I’ll read it at nine.” He said, “How long will it take you?” I go, “I just read it at the same speed that the movie plays.” He says, “I’ll be here at noon.” I said, “Okay.”
So it turned out, we found out later, that he knew he wanted Emily in that part and me in the part, but he didn’t want to offer her the part at the one apartment building on the same day because he did. I don’t want it to seem to us like he only went to one apartment building to cast his movie. [Laughs]
Who else was up for the part?
Apart from Murphy, no other actor has been named as a contender for the role of Dr. Oppenheimer. Given Murphy’s talent and suitability for the role, it’s no surprise that he would be the perfect first choice.
In fact, according to Deadline, before Nolan’s Oppenheimer project, Murphy had previously been considered for the same role in the short-lived TV series. Manhattan. This show also revolved around events in Los Alamos, New Mexico. However, he mainly focused on the character of Frank Winter, portrayed by John Benjamin Hickey, a physics professor in charge of the Manhattan Project. In the end, Dr. Oppenheimer’s role was there Manhattan was given to him Daniel London.
Did Cillian Murphy have a previous relationship with the captain or crew?
Murphy’s first meeting with Nolan dates back to 2003 when he was invited to screen test for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman begins. While Murphy initially considered taking the lead role, he soon realized that it didn’t feel right for him. Nevertheless, he was determined to meet Nolan, and this decision began a lifelong collaboration between the actor and the director.
Despite not getting the role of Batman, Murphy’s meeting with Nolan led him to portray the interesting character of Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, leaving a positive impact in all three films of the Batman trilogy. Their partnership extended beyond the Dark Knight series, as Murphy went on to play Fisher in Start and the Shivering Soldier in Dunkirk, earning him the well-deserved title of “veteran Nolan.” Through their ongoing collaboration, Murphy has become central to some of Nolan’s most important and acclaimed productions.
Murphy talked about how Nolan was on set and how he handled the art of acting and the actors who brought his films to life:
“He’s great with actors, he understands actors, he loves actors, he really believes in actors and what they can bring to the story and the character. So a lot of the time we find it. We shoot, but we get the vision, and it allows us to test and explore stuff. It can then come in, and it will travel quietly in your ear. but they can achieve them completely spun. That’s his genius. It also comes from the fact that it’s written, so he has direct access to it, but it’s amazing, like amazing.”