The Eyes of Cillian Murphy
Murphy went on to play that villain, Scarecrow, in all three of Nolan’s Batman films, and took supporting roles in “Inception” (2010) and “Dunkirk” (2017). “Meeting Chris and working with him was huge for me,” he said. “The rigor and excellence he demands from his cast and crew, his command of the vernacular of cinema, how he talks to actors, how concise his notes are — it’s phenomenal and has been so important to me in terms of craft.”
Equally important, he said, was what he learned onstage. “I didn’t train as an actor, and watching great actors, figuring out stagecraft, how to use your voice, what to do when someone dries up, that has been so instructive and essential.”
Even after movie success started to come his way, with roles in Ken Loach’s “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” Boyle’s “Sunshine” and Wes Craven’s “Red Eye,” among others, he continued to work in theatre, collaborating with Walsh on “Misterman,” “Ballyturk” and “Grief Is the Thing With Feathers.”
AND THEN THERE WAS “PEAKY BLINDERS,” the drama about a Birmingham crime family, set in the interwar years. It started modestly in 2013 before ramping up into a cult hit that lasted six seasons and inspired themed weddings, a cookbook, a virtual reality game and a ballet.
“I had seen him in quite a few things, and when we heard he was interested, I said, yup, when he is onscreen everybody is looking at him,” said Steven Knight, who created and wrote the series. Murphy, he said, is “brilliant at controlling what’s going on in the audience’s mind.” The best actors, he added, “are their own editors, predicting their edit, how they fit into the mosaic of the work, which is very difficult, and he can do that.”