Cillian Murphy’s Best Movie and TV Roles


In his early twenties, Cillian Murphy was offered a recording contract. Luckily for us, he declined (while turning his back on a career in law) and devoted himself to comedy.

And with the final season of the hit BBC show Peaky Blinders hitting our screens later this year, we’ll be saying goodbye to one of Murphy’s most popular characters, Tommy Shelby.

But before Murphy appropriated the Peaky Blinders character in 2013, the Irish actor had acted and appeared in a catalog of films and TV shows.

With his alluring blue eyes, he may have caught your eye for a few of the following:

Peaky Blinders – Tommy Shelby


Murphy wasn’t the first choice for the role of Tommy Shelby, the boss of a gangster family who returns to Birmingham after serving in the British Army during World War I. It was actually Jason Statham that director Steven Knight was leaning towards, but a text from Cillian that read “Remember, I’m an actor” swung it in his favor.

knight says Squire “Cillian, when you meet him, is obviously not Tommy, but I was stupid enough not to understand that.”

Watch Season 6 of Peaky Blinders on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Sunday 27 February.

Series 1-5 can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.

A Quiet Place Part 2 – Emmett

Cillian Murphy as Emmett in A Quiet Place 2

Paramount Pictures

The original A Quiet Place movie was a huge hit around the world and Cillian Murphy played one of the central characters in the highly anticipated sequel.

The sequel picks up where the first Ogg film left off, with the Abbott family searching for more survivors to help them in a post-apocalyptic world where mindless monsters pick up sound to hunt humans. Murphy stars as Emmett, a hardened survivor and old family friend of the Abbotts.

In fact, even before Murphy signed on to the project, he wrote a letter to director John Krasinski telling him how much he loved the first A Quiet Place movie. He explained to WENN, “I wrote this email to John to tell him how much I enjoyed the movie and to congratulate him. Then I chickened out and never sent it!

A Quiet Place Part 2 is available to watch on Sky Cinema with a NOW Cinema subscription.

Dunkirk – Shivering Soldier

Cillian Murphy as a shivering soldier in Dunkirk

Warner Bros.

Murphy teamed up with director Christopher Nolan for the fifth time in the World War II film, Dunkirk.

Murphy plays an unnamed character – the Shivering Soldier. The actor said Fortress:

“I think my character is representative of something that thousands and thousands of soldiers have experienced, which is the profound emotional and psychological impact that war can have on the individual.

“We first meet him when he is picked up by the Moonstone, which is one of the civilian ships crossing the English Channel to evacuate soldiers to Dunkirk. He is someone who has survived a horribly upsetting experience, only to be told, “Actually, we’re just going back.”

Dunkirk is available to stream now on Netflix.

Batman – Scarecrow

Murphy plays Scarecrow, one of the main villains in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which includes Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and Return of the Dark Knight.

Jonathan Crane was a corrupt psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, home to the criminally insane. He becomes involved with the powerful secret society, the League of Shadows and the Gotham City Mafia, using his alter-ego Scarecrow to create a persona as the “Master of Fear” using this fear toxin.

Murphy originally auditioned for the lead role in The Caped Crusader, as he explained in this GQ video: “There were about 10 of us riding for Batman and I was aware that I was clearly not the right material for Batman. So I did a screen test in the whole suit and everything. But Chris (Nolan) said there might be another game. So we met and talked, and I ended up playing Scarecrow in the end.”

The Dark Knight Trilogy can be viewed on Sky Cinema with a NOW Cinema subscription.

Creation – Robert Fischer

Leo DiCaprio and Cillian Murphy in Inception

Warner Bros.

Inception is another Christopher Nolan film that was both critically acclaimed and a commercial success. Murphy plays the role of entrepreneur Robert Fischer, the son of Maurice, the head of the big energy company Fischer Morrow. After his father’s death, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, plays Robert to persuade him to split up the company.

Murphy told Irish Central that in researching the role he “looked at the Murdoch family and how their sons dealt with their accomplishments”, adding “it was interesting to play and try to give it a bit of humanity “.

Inception is available to watch now on Sky Cinema with a NOW Cinema subscription.

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Sun – Dr. Robert Capa

Cillian Murphy in Sunshine

DNA movies

After first working with Danny Boyle in 2002 on the film 28 Days Later, Murphy signed on for the director’s 2007 film Sunshine.

The Doomsday movie sees a team of astronauts sent into space in an attempt to revive the dying Sun and consequently save Earth with a super nuclear bomb.

Murphy plays Dr. Robert Capa, who oversees the final calculations for deploying and detonating the bomb they hope will save humanity.

For the role, Murphy worked with a leading physicist Brian Cox to learn all about advanced physics.

Sunshine is available to stream now on Prime Video.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley – Damien O’Donovan

Cillian Murphy in The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Sixteen Movies

Ken Loach’s film The Wind that Shakes the Barley won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and became the highest-grossing independent Irish film at the Irish box office.

The film is set in 1920 and focuses on the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. Murphy plays the medical graduate Damien O’Donovan who decides not to live in London and work in a hospital to join the IRA with his brother Teddy to engage British troops in guerrilla warfare, before entertaining himself in another civil war against his former Irish comrades .

The film was shot in Cork, Ireland, where Murphy was born. He said The Guardian“I am pure, undiluted cork. I come and go. My grandmother’s people came from around Ballingeary. In many ways, I had to get it right.

The Wind That Shakes Barley is available to rent or purchase on Prime Video.

Red Eyes – Jackson Rippner

Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams in Red Eye

Dreamworks Pictures

Murphy was so keen to land the role of Jackson Rippner in the 2005 film Red Eye, directed by horror master Wes Craven, that he called off his wedding plans to fly to the United States and spend an audition.

murphy said web of film that he had to come home right after a 40-minute lunch with Wes Craven to sign the paperwork at the registry office. While casting Murphy, Craven said IGN,”I like the idea that the general public doesn’t know who Cillian physically was. They wouldn’t know who the actor was. They wouldn’t know what to expect from him.

Red Eye tells the story of Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), a hotel manager kidnapped by the sinister Rippner on a Red Eye flight to Miami. Threatened by the potential murder of her father Joe (Brian Cox), Lisa is drawn into a plot to aid her captor and their terrorist group in a political assassination.

Red Eye is available to rent or purchase on Prime Video.

28 days later – Jim

Cillian Murphy as Jim in 28 Days Later

DNA movies

For most people, their first sight of Cillian Murphy would have been when he appeared naked in a hospital at the start of the 2002 zombie film 28 Days Later, directed by Danny Boyle. This was followed by the haunting and iconic scenes of him strolling the empty streets of central London.

In his first real breakthrough role, Murphy plays pandemic survivor Jim, who wakes up 28 days after going into a coma to find the city has been turned into a post-apocalyptic zombie hell.

The role of Jim was originally intended for Ewan McGregor and was also offered to Ryan Gosling. Casting director Gail Stevens suggested Murphy and recalled that he had a “dreamy, slightly de-energized, floaty, fantastic quality to the film”.

28 Days Later is available to rent or purchase on Prime Video.


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