Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy was desperate to play a leading role in a Christopher Nolan movie after years of supporting roles.
Cillian Murphy first met Christopher Nolan when he tested for the role of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, and although he didn’t land the role, Nolan did cast Murphy as Dr. Crane/Scarecrow. The actor took over the role in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises and appeared in Inception and Dunkirk. Still, he told the Associated Press he desperately wanted a leading role in a Christopher Nolan movie. That day finally arrived when Christopher Nolan called Cillian Murphy to say he wanted him to star in Oppenheimer.
“He’s so understated and self-deprecating and, in his very English manner, just said, ‘Listen, I’ve written this script, it’s about Oppenheimer. I’d like you to be my Oppenheimer,’” Cillian Murphy said. “It was a great day.“The actor added,”I have always said publicly and privately, to Chris, that if I’m available and you want me to be in a movie, I’m there. I don’t really care about the size of the part. But deep down, secretly, I was desperate to play a lead for him.“
Cillian Murphy continued, “We have this long-standing understanding and trust and shorthand and respect. It felt like the right time to take on a bigger responsibility. And it just so happened that it was a (expletive) huge one.”Murphy added that the script for Oppenheimer was the best he’d ever read.
The cast of Oppenheimer is perhaps Christopher Nolan’s most star-studded yet. In addition to Cillian Murphy, the film features Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Gary Oldman, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh, and many more. “Any actor would want to be on a Chris Nolan set,“Murphy said, “just to see how it works and to witness his command of the language of film and the mechanics of film and how he’s able to use that broad canvas within the mainstream studio system to make these very challenging human stories.” A new trailer for Oppenheimer screened at CinemaCon and is expected to screen in theaters with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
“I’m really proud of the movie and I’m really proud of what Chris has achieved,”Murphy said. “This was, for sure, a special one, certainly because of the history with me and Chris. We weren’t walking around the set high fiving, but it did feel special. It’s an event every time he releases a film, and rightly so. Whether I’m in them or not, I always go to see his movies.” Oppenheimer will hit theaters on July 21st.