In the biopic, released on Friday (July 21), Murphy portrays J. Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned scientist often referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh, fellow cast members, spoke highly of Murphy’s commitment during an interview with People.
Downey Jr. remarked, “I have never witnessed a greater sacrifice by a lead actor in my career. He knew it was going to be a behemoth ask when Chris [Nolan] called him. But I think he also had the humility that is required to survive playing a role like this.” Murphy’s dedication to the role left an indelible mark on his co-stars, who were in awe of his commitment.
“We’d be like, ‘Hey, we got a three-day weekend. Maybe we’ll go antiquing in Santa Fe. What are you going to do?’ ‘Oh, I have to learn 30,000 words of Dutch. Have a nice time.’ But that’s the nature of the ask,” added Downey Jr., emphasizing the immense effort Murphy put into preparing for the role.
Florence Pugh also expressed her admiration for Murphy’s performance, stating, “Chris [Nolan] had one of the most incredible leads in Cillian. He is an actor that I have been watching for quite some time and have been desperate to work with for ages. You’d have to be mad to say no. It was truly one of the best experiences that I’ve had.”
Pugh was captivated by Murphy’s mastery of the character, explaining, “Working with him was hugely impressive. Every single day he shows up knowing every single possible way, intonation, inflection of how to bring this character to life. That was hugely impressive to me. There’s a reason why he is one of the greats.”
In preparation for the role, Murphy devoted himself to the character, immersing himself completely in the role. He revealed, “I didn’t go out much. I didn’t socialize much, mainly because of the amount of work I had to do… I became so immersed in the role.”
‘Oppenheimer’ has been receiving critical acclaim, with NME awarding it a five-star review. The film not only provides a definitive account of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life but also serves as a monumental achievement in mature filmmaking.
Christopher Nolan’s direction and the exceptional performances of the cast, including Cillian Murphy, have contributed to the film’s success. ‘Oppenheimer’ showcases Nolan’s mastery in creating thought-provoking blockbusters that demand undivided attention, making it an unparalleled cinematic experience.