Cillian Murphy Auditioned For An Iconic Movie Role Even Though He Knew He Wouldn’t Get It

Cillian Murphy auditioned for Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

By TeeJay Small | Updated

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With Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming historical drama Oppenheimer set to hit theaters this July, the visionary filmmaker has been on the press junket alongside the film’s star, Cillian Murphy. According to a recent write-up in Entertainment Weekly, J Robert Oppenheimer wasn’t the first iconic character Cillian Murphy intended to portray for Nolan on the big screen, as it was recently revealed that Cillian Murphy originally auditioned to play Batman in Nolan’s 2005 film Batman Begins. The duo looked back at the ill-advised audition and laughed, with Murphy conceding that Christian Bale was, of course, a much better fit for the defender of Gotham.

These days, Cillian Murphy is best known for his work alongside Christopher Nolan, such as Inception‘s Robert Fischer, as well as the iconic Batman villain Scarecrow, appearing in all three of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy films. After spending nearly ten years leading the British series Peaky Blinders, Cillian Murphy is now set to lead Nolan’s next film epic alongside an enormous cast of A-list Hollywood talent. Besides Murphy, Oppenheimer is set to feature Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, Rami Malek, and The Boys‘ Jack Quaid.

While discussing his original audition, Cillian Murphy explained that he knew from the beginning he would never play Batman in Nolan’s 2005 film, though he felt he would be remiss not to take the audition. Apparently, Murphy went so far as to don the iconic suit for the demo, remarking that he enjoyed the feeling of wearing it, instantly providing him with a bit of a buzz. Cillian Murphy went on to express great joy in being offered the role of Scarecrow, stating that most Batman villains in the past had been portrayed by huge-named actors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson, and Jim Carrey.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy also explained the audition process, stating that it included performing both a Bruce Wayne scene as well as a Batman scene, in order to fully capture the duality of the caped crusader for the trilogy, which is widely credited as taking comic book adaptations to the next level, creating a seismic shift in Hollywood which caused filmmakers to bring a sense of gritty realism to their heroes. While Murphy conceded to take a back seat to Christian Bale‘s Batman performance, the Oppenheimer actor clearly left an impression on Christopher Nolan, marking the start of a long and lucrative relationship for them both.

With Cillian Murphy’s career seemingly blowing up soon after his casting as Scarecrow in Batman Begins, it seems clear that losing the Batman role certainly wasn’t detrimental to his future success. In addition to the upcoming Christopher Nolan-helmed film, Murphy has a leading placement in Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom, a video game adaptation of the hit Netflix series, in which Murphy will reprise his leading role as Thomas Shelby. Additionally, Cillian Murphy is set to star in the upcoming third film in the 28 Days Later trilogy, tentatively titled 28 Months Later, though the plot of the film is still being kept tightly under wraps at this time.