Cillian Murphy on Reuniting with Christopher Nolan for Director's New Film: 'I'll Always Turn Up'

Cillian Murphy stars in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, after previously working with the director on Inception, Dunkirk and his Batman films

Cillian Murphy ; Christopher Nolan
Cillian Murphy (L); Christopher Nolan. Photo: Getty (2)

Cillian Murphy would have a hard time saying no to a Christopher Nolan project.

The actor — who will soon appear in Nolan's Oppenheimer, as atomic bomb physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer — recently spoke with Variety about teaming up with the director once more, after the two previously worked together on Inception, Dunkirk and Nolan's Batman films.

"I'll always turn up for Chris, whatever the size of the part," said Murphy, 45. "Chris will call me up and I'm there. Isn't it wonderful that filmmakers are still making challenging, demanding films within the studio system, shot on film?"

"I think he's flying the flag," added the Irish actor of Nolan, 51. "Him, Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino are fantastic filmmakers making interesting work on a massive scale."

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Cillian Murphy- Batman Begins, Inception, and Dunkirk
From L to R: Cillian Murphy in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005), Inception (2010) and Dunkirk (2017). Warner Bros. (3)

Known for often playing a villain, Murphy portrayed Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), before going on to appear as Robert Fischer in 2010's Inception and "Shivering Soldier" in Dunkirk (2017).

Oppenheimer marks the first leading role the Peaky Blinders actor will take on in a Nolan-helmed production. Murphy will take on the title part, playing J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist in charge of the Manhattan Project which led to the creation of the atomic bomb.

The star-studded cast also includes Josh Hartnett, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine and Rami Malek.

On Tuesday, several outlets including The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Alden Ehrenreich and David Krumholtz had also joined the cast, while Deadline reported that Kenneth Branagh had signed on as well.

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Universal has called the film an "epic thriller" about "the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it," Variety previously reported.

Oppenheimer observed the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was detonated in July 1945. A month later, the weapons were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. In 1954, Oppenheimer lost his security clearance after a controversial hearing which ended the physicist's role in U.S. government and policy.

In his recent interview with Variety, Murphy said he did "an awful lot of reading" to prepare to play Oppenheimer, explaining, "I'm interested in the man and what [inventing the atomic bomb] does to the individual."

He added, "The mechanics of it, that's not really for me — I don't have the intellectual capability to understand them, but these contradictory characters are fascinating."

Oppenheimer is expected to debut in theaters in July 2023.

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