‘Oppenheimer’ saw Christopher Nolan work with a predictably excellent cast that included Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Jr. But more than any other film in Nolan’s career, ‘Oppenheimer’ success fell on the shoulders of one actor: Cillian Murphy.
The Irish actor’s performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer is the heart of the film, which Universal emphasized by pasting Murphy’s face on virtually all of the film’s marketing materials. And if the reviews and early box office numbers are any indicator, Nolan’s gamble to build the film around Murphy appears to have paid off. As “Barbenheimer’s” blockbuster weekend draws to a close, a few of Murphy’s co-stars have reflected on the incredible level of effort he put into filming.
In a new interview with People magazineDowney explained that Murphy’s commitment to the role went far beyond what is normally expected of a leading man. In fact, the ‘Iron Man’ star said he’s never seen an actor sacrifice more for a role.
“I’ve never seen a greater sacrifice from a leading actor in my career,” said Downey. “He knew it was going to be a giant question when Chris called him. But I think he also had the humility to survive playing a role like this.”
Downey echoed the sentiments of her “Oppenheimer” co-star Matt Damon, noting how much recreational activities Murphy skipped to prepare for upcoming scenes.
“We’d be like, ‘Hey, we have a three day weekend. Maybe we’ll go antiques in Santa Fe. What are you going to do?’ ‘Oh, I have to learn 30,000 words of Dutch. Have fun,’” she said. “But that’s the nature of the question.”
In the same interview, Florence Pugh joined the chorus of “Oppenheimer” stars in praising Murphy’s dedication to capturing the nuances of the role.
“Chris had one of the most incredible leads in Cillian,” Pugh said. “Every single day he shows up knowing every possible way, intonation, inflection of how to bring this character to life. He was extremely impressive to me. There’s a reason he’s one of the greats.”
“Oppenheimer” is now playing in theaters.