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Creator / Cillian Murphy

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"Cillian Murphy, who has angelic looks that can turn sinister, is one of the most elegantly seductive monsters in recent movies."
David Denby, The New Yorker review of Red Eye

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Cillian Murphy is an Irish actor known mostly for three things. First, his chameleon-like ability to adapt to a wide variety of roles and seem to inhabit them. Second, his amazingly blue eyes, and third, being extremely pretty. He was born on May 25, 1976 in Douglas, Ireland, and started his career in entertainment as a rock musician. Cillian is a rather private fellow, and he doesn't normally discuss his personal life in interviews.

A sampling of the works he has been in:

He provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In two Christopher Nolan movies he's starred in - Batman Begins and Inception he has a bag put over his head.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Jim of 28 Days Later was written to be English but Danny Boyle made him Irish to accommodate Cillian.
  • Dawson Casting: Odd example. In Time is a society where no one ages past twenty-five. Cillian was in his mid-30s.
  • Doing It for the Art: He has said this is the Number One reason he does many of his films and he almost never does it for money.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: For certain roles, he's often lost and gained weight to look convincing as a certain character.
    • For Sunshine, he underwent astronaut and stunt training, along with taking certain science courses to get into his physicist character.
    • For Breakfast on Pluto, he often hung out with transgender people and did research on women's beauty regimens.
    • For Peaky Blinders, he shaved his head into the signature hairstyle of Tommy Shelby and hit the gym to put on 15 pounds of muscle. He's quite vocal about how much he hates the hairstyle, which may be why later seasons started to tone it down a little bit.
    • Also adopted a buzzcut for 28 Days Later, as Jim gets an Important Haircut midway through.
    • For Dunkirk he did a lot of research into post-traumatic stress disorder, including talking to people who actually suffer from it.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Sunshine saw the cast preparing for their roles by rooming together. Cillian left every night to see his pregnant wife, and this helped convey that Capa was somewhat of an outsider to the crew (Word of God saying he's the only character not to be a trained astronaut).
  • Fake American: In quite a few of his roles, a.o. in Batman Begins, Red Eye, Sunshine, Inception note  and Red Lights. He does the accent very well, especially considering how notoriously hard the Irish Accent is to shed.
  • Fake Brit:
    • His Birmingham accent in Peaky Blinders was shaky during the first season, but spot-on in season two.
    • He has a more traditional example of this trope in Dunkirk, with the southern English accent.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: An example that went out of his way not to live too much up to it. In the mid-2000s, thanks to his roles in Batman Begins, Red Eye and Breakfast on Pluto (which got him a Golden Globe nomination), he was touted as a "big star in the making". But between his discomfort with the Hollywood system and celebrity culture, as well as his annoyance with being approached solely for playing villainous roles, he's preferred to stay out of the spotlight and take up roles in smaller-scale productions.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Just look at the page picture! His eyes stand out even more when his face is covered with his Scarecrow mask in Batman Begins (see the 2nd character picture in the Scarecrow folder on the character page.
  • Production Posse:
  • Promoted Fanboy: He's stated he was a big fan of the first TRON movie. He later got a cameo in TRON: Legacy.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • When asked how he would've portrayed Batman, he laughed and said, "Come on, do I really look like Batman material to you?"
    • According to one fan that met him, she complimented him and called him attractive, earning her a look of surprise from him.
  • Star-Making Role: 28 Days Later got the ball rolling, and Red Eye and Batman Begins catapulted him to household name status.
  • Typecasting:
    • After Batman Begins and Red Eye came out in the same year and became Star Making Roles for him, he became best known to mainstream movie goers for playing incredibly creepy villains. He's sworn off playing villains (antiheroes like Tommy Shelby don't count) again, however, in the hopes of averting this.
    • Meanwhile, in most of his more independent productions, he's known for playing everyman type characters.


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