Here's the timeline for Cillian Murphy's current projects—everything from what he's just started work on right on up to what's new on DVD. And just so you've got the whole story, we also include sections on what projects Cillian may possibly do and what fell through.
Cillian and Jennifer Connelly
Set in Minnesota and northern Canada over two time periods, Cry/Fly tells the story of a mother (Jennifer Connelly) whose six-year-old daughter is terminally ill. A dramatic event separates the mother from her sick daughter and falcon-keeper son, and 20 years later, the son is persuaded by a journalist to embark on a search for his now-famous mother. (from MovieInsider.com & variety.com) Filming began last winter and IMDb.com lists 2014 as a release date.
This six-part BBC drama is set in 1919, in the days after World War I. Cillian stars as Tommy Shelby, the most ruthless brother in a family of mobsters. The Peaky Blinders are named after their practice of sewing razor blades into their caps. Also staring Sam Neill of Jurassic Park, Helen McCrory of Harry Potter, and Annabelle Wallis of The Tudors. No air date has been set yet, though is due sometime in 2013. Directed by Otto Bathurst and Tom Harper.
Dalí and I: The Surreal Story
Salvador Dalí then, Stan Lauryssens now
Another biopic: Cillian signed on to play another real life writer, Belgian Stan Lauryssens, who was taken under the wing of legendary Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí in the artist's older years. Dalí was to be played by one of Cillian's idols, the great Al Pacino. Dalí was a well-known eccentric, but Lauryssens sounds like he may be quite the character too: on his website, the crime fiction and history author says that before he met Dalí in the 1980s, he was scamming his way across Europe and America selling fake art, fake diamonds and "non-existent real estate."
Writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) was to be at the helm; he rewrote the orignal script by John Salvati, who'd described it as "a black comedy, a cross between Basquiat and GoodFellas." But in an interview with Harper's Bazaar U.K., Cillian stated that Dalí and I "is sort of on an orange light at the moment" due to the potential actors' strike. There is no longer news of when shooting will begin, IMDb has reverted the film's status to "in development."
White Male Heart
Stalled in Pre-production
What a title! An adaptation of the novel of the same title by Scottish journalist Ruaridh Nicoll, this one promised to be intense. The two main characters, Hugh and Aaron, are rural Highlanders locked in a codependent relationship of hunting, drinking and trouble-making, and when Hugh falls for a vacationing Londoner, and begins to consider leaving with her, Aaron becomes increasingly volatile. There was never any word on which role Cillian would take.
White Male Heart was set to be directed by Peter Mackie Burns. Eddie Redmayne, recently seen in The Other Boleyn Girl, was originally reported as Cillian's co-star, but IMDb later showed Hippie Hippie Shake co-star Max Minghella as the other lead. Then the project disappeared from IMDb, along with web site of the production company, Brocken Spectre.
Stalled in Pre-production
According to Production Weekly and many other outlets, Cillian signed on to star in the sci-fi picture Telepathy in May 2006. Reportedly, he was to play identical twin brothers, Josef and Viktor Zalenski, whose telepathic abilities make them the subject of a top-secret Russian experiment on communication between earth and outer space. Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill, and Nathalie Press (Bleak House) were also cast. Shooting was initially scheduled to begin in October 2006, but was delayed. After picking up a new producer and a Russian co-producer at Cannes in 2007, director Lesley Manning was reportedly scouting locations in Russia during the summer with shooting to begin in October 2007, but that didn't happen. Cillian's name moved on and off of IMDb's Telepathy page several times, and then news of Telepathy dissipated.
The Scent of Books
Back in June 2006, TMZ reported that director Alejandro Agresti (The Lake House) was negotiating with Cillian to star in The Scent of Books as the younger incarnation of one of three 60-ish writers on whom the story centres. Woody Allen and Christopher Plummer were allegedly in negotiations for two of the three main roles. With Italian-American actor Jason Biggs in talks to play a younger version of one of the writers, most likely the young Woody Allen part, Cillian may have been intended for the role of a younger Plummer. This veteran Canadian actor has been in well over a hundred movies, most famously The Sound of Music and more recently Inside Man, Syriana, and Agresti's The Lake House. Unfortunately, no further news has broken regarding this project.
Hippie Hippie Shake
Straight to DVD?
Director Beeban Kidron huddles
with Cillian and Sienna
In late 2007, Cillian's career looked poised to take a decidedly sexy turn: he shot a new starring role, playing Australian writer/futurist Richard Neville, the editor of the Australian/British 1960s radical satirical underground magazine Oz and the focus of the longest obscenity trial at that time in British history. Based on Neville's memoir, Hippie Hippie Shake: The Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, the Screw Ups: The Sixties, which The Daily Telegraph describes as the tale of Neville's "bed-hopping, drug-fuelled antics," Hippie featured Sienna Miller as Louise Ferrier, party girl and girlfriend of the editor, Emma Booth as feminist writer Germaine Greer, Max Minghella, and Nina Liu.
But the film stalled in post-production. Universal Pictures knocked back the distribution of the Working Title Films production from 2008 to 2009, and industry gossip labeled the film as "unreleasable" or straight-to-DVD. Then, as we blogged on 21 July 2009, director Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) and her screenwriter husband Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) walked off the production, and Working Title told The London Times that the film would get a limited release in the U.K. in February 2010. Sienna Miller attributed the delay to the "current economic climate," but this stinks of major creative conflict on the project. It was again delayed, and its prospects are unknown. Will another starring role for Cillian land in the straight-to-DVD pile, like Watching the Detectives and Peacock?
co-stars Michael Gambon and Robert Sheahan
Cillian is to play the lead in Wayfaring Strangers, a World War II film set in German-occupied France. With financing from the Irish Film Board and the backing of several production companies, the film is also supposed to star Michael Gambon and Robert Sheahan.
In the story, British soldiers are being held prisoner of war by the German Army. The twist is that our heroes are being held on a farm owned by a French family who is hiding a Jewish couple on the premises. Sounds like this one could be quite intense.
It's not clear yet whether this is going to shoot this year as reported.
As we reported on 16 March 2007, Cillian was originally set to star as the busker in Once, the intimate rock musical written and directed by John Carney (On the Edge). The role ended up going to Carney's friend and ex-bandmate Glen Hansard, leader of Irish rock band The Frames, who had composed most of the music for the film. Once's principals have cited differing reasons for why Cillian backed out, ranging from scheduling conflict to his unwillingness to play opposite a teenage non-actor, Czech musician Markéta Irglová, but Carney told ComingSoon.net that the casting decision was made after both he and Cillian realized it would be hard for anyone but the composer to pull off the songs. We don't know if Cillian actually signed, and then broke, a contract, but Hansard told Entertainment Weekly that Cillian was preparing for the film with Carney and Irglová, then pulled out ten days prior to the shoot. Interestingly, Hansard mentioned to Montreal's Gazette that prior to leaving the project, Cillian was going to serve as a producer.
Red Light Runners
Halted in Production
Cillian in Red Light Runners
Co-written and co-produced by lead actor Michael Madsen, this London 2004 heist film had a hard-driving attitude, a hip music video director (Nick Egan), and an exciting cast: Harvey Keitel, Crispin Glover, Roy Scheider, Kate Ashfield, Christopher Penn, David Carradine, and Peter O'Toole, as well as rock stars Gavin Rossdale, Tricky, and Martin Kemp. It also had inexperienced producers: Cillian shot three weeks before the financing disappeared and the project was scrapped.
Initially, in 2002, producers planned to raise funding under the U.K.'s Enterprise Investment Scheme, which offers a capital gains tax cut to investors: they had to raise Â£2 million, and if they failed, investors would get their money back—and it failed. But the next year, they put together a deal for sponsorship from Audi; the movie was to come out in 2004 at the same time as a new Audi model featured in the film. But financing still sputtered, and despite periodic rescues from various financing sources, the film ultimately spun out and crashed.
In 2009, rough clips of Red Light Runners surfaced on YouTube, giving us a tantalizing taste of what might have been, including a cocky, Cockney Cillian. His character was one of a motley crew of petty criminals manipulated by Madsen's rogue CIA agent into getting into a more serious criminal conspiracy.
Actor Brendan Gleeson (Breakfast on Pluto, Cold Mountain) wrote a screenplay adapting Flann O'Brien's chaotic, multi-layered Irish classic, and many of today's most famous Irish actors have been linked to the project: Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Gabriel Byrne, and Cillian Murphy. A read-through (attended by Cillian) was held in Dublin in early 2007, but news halted there for over two years. Finally, in September 2009, the project was officially announced as a project of Parallel Pictures (sans Rhys Meyers).
Perhaps Cillian will get his wish to play a cowboy—one of the characters in the book is writing a Western whose protagonists turn on him. Director John Boorman (who recently directed Gleeson in A Tiger's Tale) was said to be interested, but Gleeson will make his directorial debut.