Cillian Murphy – star of Inception and 28 Days Later

Cillian Murphy. Photo copyright Tom Sorensen CC3

Cillian Murphy is a Co Cork born actor most famous for his roles in 28 Days Later and Inception.

Cillian Murphy. Photo copyright Mirka CC3

He has also starred in three Batman movies; Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises.

He has appeared in several movies with many of the biggest names in Hollywood. He has shared a screen with Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Colin Farrell, and Christian Bale.

Throughout his career he has been nominated for a best actor award several times from several high profile organisations. He was named Best Actor in a Lead Role at the Irish Film and Television awards for his performance as Patrick “Kitten” Braden in Breakfast on Pluto.

Murphy started acting in school

Murphy was born in Douglas, Co Cork and moved to Cork as a youngster. He was very creative and when he was ten he started writing songs.

He went to Presentation Brothers College but struggled despite doing well academically. The school encouraged its pupils to participate in sports while Murphy felt his creativity was being neglected. He was suspended on numerous occasions.

He appeared in plays at the school and dreamt of being a rock star but his English teacher, the poet and novelist, William Wall, encouraged him to continue acting.

Appearing in plays and short films

Cillian Murphy. Photo copyright Tom Sorensen CC3

Despite this, Murphy formed a band with his brother, but they turned down a record contract as the deal stipulated that they would be signing away control of their material to the record company.

His interest in acting was reignited in 1996 when he watched a production of Clockwork Orange by Cork’s Corcadorca Theatre Company.

For the next six years, Murphy appeared in a number of plays and short films including At Death’s Door and A Man of Few Words. He also started to appear in full length feature films with roles in the Daniel Craig movie, The Trench and the lead role in the Irish drama film, On the Edge.

Lead in 28 Days Later

He got his big break in 2002 when British director Danny Boyle cast him in the lead role in 28 Days later.

His character, Jim, was one of only a few people in the country who had avoided being infected by a virus that causes people to go into a violent murderous rage.

The film followed Jim as he and a few other survivors try to find a way of living in the new reality. Murphy received nominations for best actor from the Irish Film and Television Awards and best newcomer from the Empire Awards for his performance.

The following year, he starred opposite Colin Farrell in the popular Irish comedy movie, Intermission. He also appeared in the dramas, Girl With a Pearl Earring and Cold Mountain.

Playing the Scarecrow in Batman Begins

In 2005, Murphy played Scarecrow in Batman Begins, a role he reprised in 2008’s The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. He received nominations for British Supporting Actor at the London Film Critics Circle Awards and Best Villain at the MTV Awards for his role in Batman Begins.

That year he also starred as Patrick “Kitten” Braden in the comedy drama Breakfast in Pluto. He was named best actor for his performance at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

In 2006, he starred in The Wind That Shakes The Barley, which became the most popular Irish independent film of all time in Ireland. He followed this up with starring roles in Sunshine, Watching the Detectives, The Edge of Love and Peacock.

Starring in Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio

In 2010, Murphy appeared in the blockbuster movie Inception. He played Robert Fischer, the heir to a multimillion dollar energy conglomerate. Leonardo DiCaprio and his crew had to infiltrate Fischer’s dreams as he slept. Murphy was again nominated for several awards for his performance.

After Inception, Murphy has continued to take leading roles and has appeared in Retreat, In Time, Red Lights and Broken.