Cillian Murphy stars in Red Eye, a mile-high thriller streaming on HBO Max.
Cillian Murphy has a knack for creeping audiences out. From his role as the Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films to his hit Netflix series Peaky Blinders, Murphy has been a film force not to be trifled with for two decades. One of his creepiest roles is in 2005’s flight thriller Red Eye, now streaming on HBO Max.
Helmed by A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream director Wes Craven, this Cillian Murphy thriller asks audiences to keep their seat backs up and their tray tables in an upright and locked position, because it goes for one bumpy ride. The film follows Lisa, a hotel manager played by Rachel McAdams. While waiting for a delayed flight on her way home from her grandmother’s funeral, Lisa meets Jackson Rippner, charmingly played by Cillian Murphy.
Rippner’s name does not raise the red flag it should for Lisa, and the two hit it off. They then board a red eye flight to Miami, during which Rippner reveals his terrorist assassination plot that he blackmails Lisa into cooperating in. The remainder of the flight is a tight, tense escalation as Lisa attempts to escape and thwart the mad plot in one of the best thrillers of the 2000s.
The film came early in the careers of Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams, but the stars drew audiences. The film was a critical and financial success, earning praise for its performances and direction.
Red Eye opened second at the box office behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin, eventually amassing a worldwide total of more than $95 million against a $25 million budget. The film’s trailer is an award-nominated piece of early 2000s gold, and the film won Choice Thriller at the Teen Choice Awards.
Red Eye released in the U.S. on August 19, 2005, just two months after Cillian Murphy became a mainstream sensation for his unnerving portrayal of the Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Though he did not see himself as the superhero type, Murphy auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman as a chance to meet Christopher Nolan.
The role went to Christian Bale, but Nolan was so impressed with Murphy that he gave him a villain part. Murphy’s blockbuster summer in 2005 followed his roles in 28 Days Later and Cold Mountain, cementing him as a familiar face at the movies and paving the way for his illustrious career.
Growing up in Ireland, Cillian Murphy attended a Catholic school that focused much more on sports than the arts. Murphy was not athletically inclined and resorted to getting into trouble instead. Murphy found his way to acting in his early 20s after quitting law school.
He was already a musician, playing in several bands with his brother. After he saw a stage production of A Clockwork Orange, his interest in acting was sparked.
Since 1996, Cillian Murphy has had the acting bug. He has starred in several films, TV shows, and stage productions of various sizes and genres. Batman Begins and Red Eye earned the actor a reputation as a villain, but he has had far more tender turns in films like Breakfast on Pluto, in which he plays a transgender woman.
Cillian Murphy has continued to work with Christopher Nolan on several movies, returning for small parts of the Dark Knight trilogy, as well as for key roles in Inception and Dunkirk. He will team with the director again for this summer’s Oppenheimer, in which he stars as the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer.
In 2020, Cillian Murphy starred in the hit sequel A Quiet Place Part II, and in 2022 he wrapped up his six-season tenure on the period crime drama Peaky Blinders, for which he won several awards.
Despite such high profile and well received appearances, Cillian Murphy is perhaps still best known for his role as Jim in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. Murphy is set to team up again with Boyle and writer Alex Garland for 28 Months Later, a sequel to the post-apocalyptic horror film.
Cillian Murphy is also set to star in Kensuke’s Kingdom, an animated film slated for release this summer, as well as the drama film Small Things Like These. Murphy is one of Hollywood’s most distinct actors, and his career is full of intriguing work. Red Eye is no exception, and the film is taking flight once again on HBO Max.