What Inspired Cillian Murphy, Film's Best and Fairest?
9 October 2006
By Mary Kaye Schilling
[Image of article here.]
"Journalists have a myopic view of our versatility," Cillian Murphy once said. "They're like, 'You only play the creep.'" In the nine years since his screen debut in Quando, Cillian (pronounced KILL-ian), 30, has made a career of disproving that theory. With a face that can alternately charm the angels or chill the soul (aided and abetted by those mesmerising azure eyes), he has travelled seamlessly between roles of utter depravity (Red Eye) and delicate heroism (Breakfast on Pluto). In the current The Wind That Shakes the Barley, he plays a gentle man driven to violence by the British occupation of Ireland in 1920. He jumped straight from that to sci-fi, reteaming with 28 Days Later… director Danny Boyle for Sunshine (due in April). A dizzying breadth of work for such a wee man (he's all of 1.68m): "You make some really absurd transitions," says Cillian, father to Malachy, 2, "but that's what I love about acting." A few other things he loves:
Working without a net
Barley's director, Ken Loach, likes to keep his actors in the dark, dolling out a few pages of script at a time—usually the day a scene is shot. "I wish every fil could be done like that. It's challenging and scary, but I loved every minute of it. Ken keeps the paraphernalia of filmmaking as far away as possible to make the performance as real as possible."
"Zappa was so out of the box," says Cillian of the cerebral rocker. "In the world of the '60s and '70s he had such a cynicism about hippies. I loved that. And he's one of the most underrated guitarists—one of the top five."
"I've read all his books," he says of the Booker Prize-winning Irish author.
Cillian predicts his Batman Begins director "will be one of film's greatest. He was born brilliant."
"That's a staple at my house."
The 1973 movie starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman "is one of the first times I was really moved by a film—particularly Pacino's performance. I go back to it all the time."