Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Cillian Murphy: Played the role of a lifetime in the blockbuster. Will he receive an Oscar for it?

Thanks to the title role he played in Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer”, Cillian Murphy found himself in the center of media attention around the world. Critics wrote that this was the best performance of his career and almost everyone predicted an Oscar for him. “Oppenheimer” received a total of 13 nominations, the most of any film competing for a gold statuette this year. Murphy is the favorite in his category. “I’ve never seen anyone sacrifice as much for a role as Cillian Murphy did for ‘Oppenheimer,'” Nolan said of him.

The actor himself does not hide that the role demanded a lot from him. In one of the interviews, he confessed that at one point he stopped eating and pushed his body to the brink of endurance. The Irish star revealed that in order to look like his hero, who had a very slim figure, he started following an extremely restrictive diet.. “Oppenheimer ate only martinis and cigarettes. I overcame myself to see how little I could eat to survive. It was not healthy. I do not recommend it to anyone,” he admitted.

When asked about the details of his diet and the number of kilograms he lost, Murphy replied that he was not going to talk about it for a very simple reason. “I don’t want the film to have headlines like: ‘Cillian lost so much weight for the role’,” he said. Details of the actor’s rigorous diet were revealed by Emily Blunt, his on-screen wife. In an interview with “Extra”, she talked about his preparations for the role and the “meal”. The star of “Oppenheimer” did not eat martinis and cigarettes, but… almonds. “He had a monumental undertaking ahead of him. And he ate one almond a day. He was terribly thin,” Blunt confessed.

An actor often sacrifices himself for his roles. However, not everyone knows that acting was not his first passion. It was music. Cillian, together with his younger brother Paidi, played in several bands and this was his future. The future star considered himself a specialist in writing strange lyrics and guitar solos. One of the Murphy brothers’ bands – Sons of Mr. Greengenes – representatives of one of the Irish labels liked it and offered them a contract for five albums.

However, the boys’ parents did not agree to this cooperation. They believed that a musical career would harm the education of their younger son, who was attending high school. The contact was not signed also because it was financially unfavorable for the young musicians. Over time, Cillian began to give up musical performances in favor of acting ones. However, Cillian came close to using his talent for public speaking in… the courtroom.

After high school, he decided to study law at University College Cork in Cork. His parents were very pleased with the choice of this field, especially his father, who was a school superintendent. However, Cillian quickly became bored with delving into the secrets of law. It was also difficult for him to focus on the codes when he was absorbed by music and acting. Murphy said goodbye to law school after his first year when he failed his exams. “If I had stayed with law, I would probably be richer now. But I would feel very unhappy,” he admitted recently in an interview.

“I think there is a gene somewhere that is responsible for performing. If you have it in your DNA, it has to come out someday. As for me, it first came out in music, then it moved into acting,” Murphy once admitted. He started his acting career on theater stages. In 1996, he made his debut in the main role in the play “Disco Pigs”. Five years later, a film was made based on this play, in which Cillian Murphy reprized his role. It was then that he was noticed by the film industry. He decided to move to London to be closer to auditions for British film productions.

Another breakthrough was the role of Jim in the horror film “28 Days Later”. In the following years he played a lot, but mainly in the background. In Hollywood, he was often cast as villains. After his charismatic performance in “Batman Begins”, Murphy became one of Christopher Nolan’s favorites. Over the last two decades, the Irishman appeared in six of the director’s films, but always in supporting roles. Only in their seventh joint project did Murphy play the most important role – the godfather. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb.

In 2013, Cillian Murphy began appearing on the small screen, in one of his most recognizable roles as Thomas Shelby, in the BBC’s “Peaky Blinders”. Director Steven Knight initially saw Jason Statham in the role, who was more in line with his imagination. Murphy managed to however, convince the director with a short message: “Remember that I am an actor.” The series was a huge hit on the BBC and Netflix. There was a sixth and final season in 2022. Murphy was recently asked whether there would be new episodes. The actor said directly that he would no longer play the role of Thomas Shelby. Instead, he is now focusing on other projects.

His latest film “Small Things Like These” opened this year’s Berlinale in February. Its action takes place during Christmas in 1985, and the main character of the production is Bill Furlong, played by an Irish coal salesman, who begins to discover the dark secrets of the local monastery. The film reveals the shocking truth about the Magdalene Sisters’ asylum – an educational institution run by Catholic orders to which young girls who caused problems were sent.

The Oscar favorite is currently working on another project for Netflix. “Steve” will be an adaptation of Max Porter’s novel “Shy”. The film will tell about one day in the life of the director of a correctional facility. The man tries to take care of those under his care, which is even more difficult because he himself struggles with mental problems.

To present the script for “Oppenheimer” to Cillian, Nolan flew to Ireland. Murphy lives in Dublin with his wife and children. He returned there in 2015 after 14 years of living in England, mainly in London. One of the reasons for the move was that the actor and his wife wanted to raise their two sons as Irishmen. Murphy had no plans and still has no plans to make Los Angeles his next permanent address. “I feel European and Irish. If I lived in California, I would feel a bit like an intruder. I couldn’t imagine living there permanently,” he said in an interview with the authors of the Armchair Expert podcast.

Overall, Murphy is very protective of his privacy. It is known that his wife is Yvonne McGuiness, an Irish visual artist. She is 51 years old and four years older than her husband. They got married in 2004 after many years of being a couple. Murphy proposed to her during a trip to the Irish mountains. They are both vegetarians. Recently, the actor admitted that his wife and sons would accompany him during the Oscar gala. The winners will be announced on the night of March 10-11.