Renowned actor Cillian Murphy issued a stern warning about the Oppenheimer diet he adopted for his role in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming drama, where he portrays the iconic J. Robert Oppenheimer, the ‘father of the atomic bomb.’ To authentically depict Oppenheimer’s distinct physicality and silhouette, Murphy was determined to shed significant weight.
In a conversation with The New York Times, Murphy shared his approach to embodying the role: “I love acting with my body, and Oppenheimer had a very distinct physicality and silhouette, which I wanted to get right. I had to lose quite a bit of weight, and we worked with the costume and tailoring; he was very slim, almost emaciated, existed on martinis and cigarettes.”
While it’s unlikely that Murphy solely subsisted on martinis and cigarettes during this process, his co-star Emily Blunt hinted that his diet wasn’t much better. In an interview with Extra alongside Matt Damon, she revealed, “Cillian had to [remove himself from the antics on set] because he had such a monumental undertaking, and he could only eat, like, an almond every day because he was so emaciated.”
Damon acknowledged the immense challenge Murphy faced, stating, “The sheer volume of work that he had and the level of detail that Chris [Nolan] demands, there was always something for him to be thinking about.”
However, Murphy refrained from recommending this extreme weight loss regimen and opted not to disclose the exact amount of weight he lost. He emphasized, “You become competitive with yourself a little bit which is not healthy. I don’t advise it… Ach, no. I don’t want it to be, ‘Cillian lost x weight for the part’.”
The intense nature of the work and the focus required to portray the character contributed to Murphy’s ability to undergo such significant weight loss. He mentioned, “I was running on crazy energy; I went over a threshold to where I was not worrying about food or anything. I was so in it, a state of hyper … hyper something. But it was good because the character was like that. He never ate.”
With filming now completed, Murphy can fortunately return to a more balanced diet, bidding farewell to the almond and cigarette regimen. Audiences eagerly await the release of Oppenheimer in cinemas on 21 July, where they will witness the fruits of Murphy’s hard work on the big screen.