Star of the gangster series “Peaky Blinders” from 2013 to 2022, Cillian Murphy is currently headlining Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer”.
This week, Cillian Murphy takes center stage in one of the most anticipated films of the year, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The 47-year-old actor embodies neither more nor less than Robert Oppenheimer, a major historical figure considered to be the father of nuclear weapons.
Cillian Murphy was born to a mother who was a French teacher and a father who worked for the Irish Department of Education. It was in the theater that he first made himself known, notably in the plays Disco Pigs, A lot of noise for nothing And The Shape of things.
After a few television films and confidential feature films, the young man began to make a name for himself in England with a role in La Vie à la folie, then by appearing in Disco Pigs, the adaptation of the play he played a few years earlier.
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In 2003, he achieved recognition by starring in Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic horror film 28 Days Later, then by appearing in Intermission, a choral film in the heart of Dublin’s working-class neighborhoods which receives no less of four IFTA Awards.
In 2004, Cillian Murphy appeared in two notable American productions: Cold Mountain and The Girl with a Pearl Earring. Then, he left period films for Gotham City, where he took on the Scarecrow tinsel in Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005).
In 2005, we find him in Wes Craven’s thriller Red Eye where he surprises as a psychopath. Then, he shares the poster with Liam Neeson of Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto. In 2006, he was in the cast of Ken Loach The Wind Rises, which deals with the Irish War of Independence. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Pursuing a most eclectic career, the Irishman collaborated a second time with Danny Boyle for the brilliant science fiction film Sunshine (2007), in which he must rekindle the sun which is about to go out. He resumed his role as the Scarecrow in The Dark Knight (2008), considered the best Batman.
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Alternating Irish and Hollywood productions, the native of Douglas was awarded a prize in Perrier’s Bounty by Brendan Gleeson, before reuniting with Nolan for the SF thriller Inception, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and other big stars like Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy.
Having become one of the gifted director’s favorite actors, Cillian Murphy once again worked under his leadership in 2012 for The Dark Knight Rises. Then, four years later, we see him in his tenth film, the realistic Dunkirk, which takes place during the Second World War.
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In 2013, Cillian became the hero of the British series Peaky Blinders. He plays Tommy Shelby, the head of a family of gangsters in Birmingham in the 1920s. Success is there and, with its 6 seasons and 36 episodes, the program lasts until 2022.
At the same time, the actor alternates films for the general public (Transcendence, In the Heart of the Ocean, Free Fire, Anna, Without a Noise 2) and more intimate productions (Broken with Tim Roth, L’Attrape-rêves with Jennifer Connelly, The Party with Kristin Scott Thomas).
In 2023, Christopher Nolan offers him the main role of the biopic Oppenheimer. For the occasion, the Irish actor slips into the shoes of an American scientist asked by the government to develop atomic weapons during the Second World War:
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“I always told Chris Nolan, publicly and privately, that if I was available and he wanted me in a movie, I would always be there. No matter how big the role. However, deep down I, secretly, was dying to play a lead role for him.”, says Cillian. He adds :
“He was just like, ‘Listen, I wrote this script about Oppenheimer. I’d like you to be my Oppenheimer. It was a great day. It felt like the right time. to shoulder such a responsibility. And it turns out that it was really considerable.”
“The character was complex, contradictory and so iconic. But I knew I was working with one of the greatest directors of all time. I felt confident. He had a profound impact on my life, both on the both creatively and professionally.”