With the upcoming release of Christopher Nolan’s new epic Oppenheimer, the director had a lot to say about working with Cillian Murphy. Yes, we’re talking about their first collaboration, The Dark Knight trilogy.
While Cillian Murphy was already well-known in the industry, his portrayal of Scarecrow catapulted him to stardom. And it all seems to have started with Cillian auditioning for the role of Batman. While he did not get to play the lead, he did get to play a memorable character.
Cillian Murphy believed he was unsuitable for the role of Batman.
It felt to me that it was correct and right that it should be Christian Bale for that part. But I remember the buzz of trying on the suit and being directed by you. Those tests were high production values.Cillian Murphy
Both knew Murphy wasn’t going to play Batman from the start, but Nolan was captivated by the look of CIllian Murphy in 28 Days Later and called him for a screening test, which is how they ended up where they are today.
I think both of us knew that you weren’t going to wind up playing Batman. But I really wanted to get on set with you, I wanted to get you on film. We did those screen tests very elaborately, on 35mm, with a little set. There was just an electric atmosphere in the crew when you started to perform.
We did two scenes — there was a Bruce Wayne scene and a Batman scene — and I made sure that executives came down and watched what you were doing on set. Everybody was so excited by watching you perform that when I then said to them, ‘Okay, Christian Bale is Batman, but what about Cillian to play Scarecrow?’ there was no dissent.
All the previous Batman villains had been played by huge movie stars: Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, that kind of thing. That was a big leap for them and it really was purely on the basis of that test. So that’s how you got to play Scarecrow.Christopher Nolan